Illinois-Based Global Company Fired Regional Manager in Florida Because of His Cancer, Federal Agency Charged
MIAMI - IDEX Corporation, a Lake Forest, Ill.-based manufacturer and supplier of fluidics systems with locations nationwide, will pay $380,000 and furnish significant relief to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, an IDEX regional manager based in Miami who had successfully performed his job was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. The manager continued to perform his job well, even while undergoing treatment, the EEOC said. During the period of his treatment, however, supervisors repeatedly asked the manager invasive questions about his illness and questioned his ability to perform job tasks. On Dec. 8, 2011, IDEX fired the regional manager because of his disability, the EEOC said.
Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit against IDEX in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division (EEOC v. IDEX Corporation, Case No. 1:15-cv-22777-DPG/TURNOFF (S.D. Fla.)) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement though its conciliation process.
In addition to the $380,000 in monetary relief to the terminated employee, the two-year consent decree resolving the suit also requires IDEX to create a disability discrimination policy to be used with IDEX's U.S.-based employees. The company is also required to train all U.S.-based human resources managers on the ADA's prohibition against disability discrimination and the rights and responsibilities of managers and employees under the ADA, as well as IDEX's new policy. The HR managers will, in turn, train all U.S.-based managers on these matters. IDEX also will address questions managers may have about the company's new policy and review hypothetical accommodation request scenarios with managers. IDEX must post and distribute notices concerning the decree through email, its company website, and at locations nationwide.
Also, IDEX must make periodic reports to the EEOC, including reports on employees who are involuntarily separated from IDEX during the decree's duration, and who requested and/or received a medical or health-related accommodation, including ADA accommodations, within the six months prior to that employee's involuntarily separation from IDEX.
"The conduct in this case is a shocking reminder of why the Americans With Disabilities Act is such a critical law," said EEOC Miami District Director Michael Farrell. "Situations like this demonstrate why the EEOC's law enforcement responsibilities are so important in today's workplace."
EEOC Miami District Office Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg added, "The ADA was intended to eradicate the mistreatment of employees with disabilities based on misconceptions about their ability to perform their jobs."
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.