Ingram Readymix Inc., a private concrete manufacturing company with 27 concrete plants in South Central Texas and more than 500 employees, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it discharged an employee because he told his supervisor that he had a disability and would be needing to take short periods of leave in the upcoming weeks for medical treatment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on September 29.
It is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to discharge an employee who is qualified to perform the essential functions of his job because he is disabled or is believed to be disabled. The EEOC’s San Antonio Field filed suit (CASE NO. SA10CA0787FB) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, after efforts to reach a voluntary settlement failed.
In the lawsuit, the EEOC is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting Ingram from further discriminating against qualified disabled employees or applicants for employment, as well as other non-monetary relief to eradicate discriminatory employment practices that violate the ADA. The EEOC is also seeking back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and other relief.
“It’s unfortunate that 20 years after the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act, some employers discriminate against qualified employees based on myths, fears and stereotypes about certain disabilities," said senior trial attorney Eduardo Juarez of the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “Employees should not have to fear that they may lose their jobs as a result of them disclosing their disability.”
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Judith G. Taylor added, “It is quite surprising that a company the size of Ingram would not be complying with the most obvious mandates of the ADA, especially since the law has been in effect since 1990. This case reminds us that too many employers still make employment decisions based on unsubstantiated fears and biases about the abilities of individuals with disabilities.”
During fiscal year 2009, disability discrimination charges reached a record level of 21,451, an increase of 10 percent from the prior fiscal year.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its Web site at www.eeoc.gov.