Automotive Parts Manufacturer Refused to Hire Applicants Because of Prior Sick Leave, Federal Agency Charges
JACKSON, Miss. - Faurecia Automotive Seating, LLC, the sixth largest international automotive parts manufacturer in the world, violated federal law by disqualifying applicants from employment because they were disabled, regarded as disabled, have a record of a disability, and/or because of their association with an individual who has a disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on September 30, 2016.
EEOC's suit charged that Faurecia violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to hire Neda Sykes-Travis and a class of 10 other claimants, who were formerly employed by Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) when it relied on their record of sick leave or FMLA leave to disqualify them.
All JCI employees were required to complete applications and sign authorizations permitting Faurecia to review information regarding their discipline and leave. Faurecia reviewed that information and determined which individuals should not be hired by Faurecia based in whole or in part on the length of time the employee had been on medical or FMLA leave. In addition, according to EEOC, JCI provided a list to Faurecia of all employees currently on leave from work including the reason for the leave, and a list of job-related injuries in the plant over the prior three years.
Faurecia used this information in determining which former employees of JCI would be hired. All Claimants took leaves of absence during the years 2009 or 2010 related to a personal medical condition or the medical condition of someone with whom they had a relationship or association.
EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 4:16-CV-00199-DMB-JMV) in U.S. District Court for the District of Mississippi, Greenville Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency's lawsuit seeks, among other things, monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and a permanent injunction enjoining Faurecia from further discriminating on the basis of disability.
"Failure to hire an individual because of a disability violates federal law," said C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "The ADA also prohibits employers from discriminating against an applicant or employee because of their association with an individual who has a disability. In order to safeguard themselves from litigation, employers must be cognizant of these restrictions during the hiring process."
Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of EEOC's Birmingham District Office, added, "Faurecia refused to hire Ms. Neda Sykes-Travis and the other claimants simply because of their disability, perceived disability, or status as a caregiver of an individual with a disability. EEOC is determined to enforce the ADA and fight this type of flagrant discrimination, which prevents people with disabilities from entering or remaining in the workforce."
Faurecia is headquartered in Nanterre, France. The company presently has plants in Cleveland, Miss. (metals plant); Madison, Miss.; Alabama; South Carolina; and Michigan. The Madison plant manufactures complete seating for Nissan 's assembly plant in Canton, Miss. Faurecia employs more than 97,000 people in 34 countries.
EEOC's Birmingham District has jurisdiction in Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discri mination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.