Athletic Apparel Manufacturer Fired Temporary Employee Because of Her Disabilities, Federal Agency Charges
BYHALIA, Miss. - ASICS America Corporation (ASICS), a manufacturer of athletic footwear and accessories, violated federal law by firing a temporary worker because of her disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, on or about the first week in March of 2015, a temporary staffing agency assigned Shelby Orsburn, who has hearing and speech impairments, to work at ASICS's warehouse distribution center in Byhalia, Mississippi. The lawsuit further alleges that after Orsburn completed an orientation meeting and a video, members of ASICS's human resources department told Orsburn that the company could not employ her because of her impairments. They said it was unsafe for her to work in the facility due to her disabilities and sent her home. The EEOC charges that ASICS failed to engage in the interactive process with Orsburn to determine whether she could fulfill the essential functions of the position.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division, Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-00227, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages, backpay, as well as an injunction against future discrimination.
"Failing to engage in the interactive process with a disabled employee is illegal," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. "The EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable for failing to protect employees from unlawful discrimination."
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.