Federal Agency Charged Company Fired Welder After Disability Bias Complaint
CLEVELAND –A Lordstown, Ohio-based automotive parts company will pay $27,500 and furnish remedial relief to settle a retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC, welder Eugene Vallozzi had an excellent work record at Faurecia Exhaust Systems for two years prior to March 2006, when the company learned that Vallozzi had contacted the EEOC complaining about possible disability discrimination. Thereafter, Faurecia initiated numerous disciplinary actions, beginning with a written warning and escalating to Vallozzi being escorted to the door on two separate occasions. Faurecia fired Vallozzi on June 1, 2006.
Retaliating against an employee for complaining about possible discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, (Case No. 4:08-cv-00950), after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree provides that Faurecia will not retaliate against anyone for opposing any act or practice made unlawful under the ADA, or because he or she made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the ADA. Further, Faurecia agreed to provide a training session to all supervisors and managers employed at its Lordstown plant regarding the ADA’s requirements and policies regarding compliance with the statute. Faurecia will also post a notice at its Lordstown facility informing employees of its commitment to compliance with the anti-retaliation provisions of the law.
“It’s important that employees understand they have a right to speak out against discrimination and the EEOC is committed to enforcing the rights of employees who report discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “In the absence of such protection, it would be easy for much unlawful activity to go unreported.”
According to the company’s web site, Faurecia Exhaust Systems, Inc. is a global employer in the automotive industry with 60,000 employees in 28 countries. The company designs and produces automotive seats, cockpits, door panels, acoustic packages, front ends and exhaust systems.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site (www.eeoc.gov).
This page was last modified on March 10, 2009.
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