Cleaning Company Discharged Employee Because of His Scoliosis, Federal Agency Charged
DETROIT - A privately owned Mt. Clemens, Mich.-based company that provides cleaning services for corporate clients in commercial buildings will pay $16,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC's lawsuit charged that New Image Building Services, Inc., violated federal law by terminating the employment of Gregory Brown because of his disability, scoliosis. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, in September of 2013, Brown was hired as a cleaner and assigned to trash maintenance at a Dearborn, Mich., client location. On July 23, 2014, his supervisor informed him that he would be assigned to vacuum duty, which would have required him to wear a vacuum back pack. In response, Brown told the supervisor that he could not do vacuum duty because of his scoliosis. Rather than allow Brown to submit a doctor's note, the supervisor issued a disciplinary write-up against Brown for refusing to perform an assigned task, and removed him from the worksite by confiscating his badge, the EEOC said. Brown was not allowed to return to the worksite; nor was he reassigned to another location.
This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of disabilities. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. New Image Building Services, Inc., No. 2:16-cv-13093) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree settling the suit, in addition to providing for the award of monetary relief to Brown, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires New Image to distribute its policies on equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination to all its employees. New Image must also train its supervisors and human resources representatives on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations under the ADA.
The Detroit Field Office is part of the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and parts of Ohio.
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.