U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Employer Fired Employee After 52 Years of Service Rather Than Returning Him From Medical Leave, Federal Agency Charges
CHICAGO - S&C Electric Co. in Chicago unlawfully fired an employee on the bases of age and disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
The EEOC charges that S&C committed age and disability discrimination when it terminated Richard Rascher after he was released to return to work after taking an approved medical leave for cancer and a hip fracture. S&C fired Rascher, who was 74, after 52 years of service to the company, according to the EEOC.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), EEOC claims in its federal complaint. The ADA prohibits disability discrimination, and the ADEA prohibits age discrimination.
The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. S&C Electric Co., Civil Action No. 17-cv-6753, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and was assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman. The EEOC's lawsuit seeks both monetary and injunctive relief. The government's litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorneys Miles Shultz and Richard Mrizek and EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason.
"After an approved leave, S&C refused to allow an employee with over a half century of service to simply return to work," said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago. "Our investigation revealed Mr. Rascher was fully cleared to return to work, but that S&C insisted he 'retire' instead."
Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago, added, "It is illegal for an employer to insist an employee retire when returning from an approved medical leave when the employee is cleared to go back to work. This is classic discrimination, based on both age and disability."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.