Black Employee with Disability Involuntarily Transferred and Fired for Opposing It, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO - A Peoria, Ill., Chevrolet dealership will pay $65,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Green Chevrolet violated federal law by forcing an employee to transfer to a position that had never previously existed when the company learned that the employee was experiencing kidney failure and would require regular dialysis treatment. The EEOC also alleged that when the black employee resisted his transfer by explaining that he was healthy enough to continue working his sales advisor job and by asking why the company did not "get a white guy" to do the new job, the company fired him in retaliation for this opposition.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit on Sept. 29, 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Peoria (Civil Action No. 15 C 1412) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Under the consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Michael M. Mihm, Green Chevrolet will pay the former employee $65,000. In addition, the decree prohibits Green Chevrolet from engaging in disability discrimination or retaliation in the future. The decree also requires the company to train its managers about the requirements of the ADA and Title VII and to report complaints of disability or race discrimination to the EEOC.
"The EEOC is pleased that this employer has agreed to train its managers on the requirements of the ADA and Title VII," said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago. "We always prefer to prevent discrimination from occurring in the first place, rather than trying to seek a fix after the fact."
EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.
Gochanour said, "We are gratified by Green's determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve the case by providing compensation to its former employee and undertaking measures to assure future compliance with the ADA and Title VII. Early resolution of cases benefits everyone - the discrimination victims, the employers, the EEOC and the courts."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
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.