U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Agency Says Tire Manufacturer Violated ADA by Firing Woman Because of Bleeding Disorder
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company violated federal law by firing a qualified employee at its facility in Fayetteville, N.C., because of her bleeding disorder, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Civil Action No. 5:11-cv-00468), in October 2007, Alisha D. Adams applied for the position of tire builder at Goodyear’s Fayetteville facility and was deemed qualified for the job. Adams received a conditional offer of employment. During Goodyear’s post-offer medical examination, Adams disclosed that she had menorrhagia, a bleeding disorder associated with her menstrual cycle. As a result of this disclosure, Goodyear required Adams to obtain medical clearances from two physicians. Adams was medically cleared to work by two separate physicians, including a specialist, and began to work for Goodyear on or about Jan. 31, 2008.
Around Feb. 22, 2008, after Adams had been medically cleared and had begun her employment, Adams disclosed to her supervisor that she had been diagnosed with menorrhagia. Thereafter, according to the complaint, Adams was terminated by Goodyear because of its unfounded belief that Adams was substantially limited in remaining conscious and working.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified people with disabilities in hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court. The suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Adams, as well as injunctive and other non-monetary relief.
“It’s unfortunate that 20 years after the enactment of the ADA, some employers still react to applicants and employees with medical impairments based on myths, fears and stereotypes about those impairments,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Lynette A. Barnes of the agency’s Charlotte District, which includes litigation in several jurisdictions, including throughout North Carolina.
According to company information, Goodyear is the largest tire manufacturer in North America and Latin America and the second largest in Europe. Goodyear is headquartered in Akron, Ohio, and employs over 69,000 people around the world.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the agency is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.