Sheet Metal Company Fired Employee After He Lost One Eye, Federal Agency Charged
MIAMI - Universal Diversified Enterprises, Inc. and Universal Diversified Solutions LLC, Miami-based sheet metal fabrication and installation companies, have agreed to pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle 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, a sheet metal worker / installer lost his left eye in injury sustained outside of the workplace. After recovering from the injury and being cleared to return to work by his medical provider, his employer, without any assessment, refused to allow him to return to work.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (EEOC v. Universal Diversified Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 18-cv-23575-UU) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the EEOC's conciliation process.
In addition to the $30,000 in damages, the five-year consent decree settling the suit requires Universal Diversified Solutions to adopt and distribute a comprehensive ADA policy; schedule yearly management and employee training on the ADA that the EEOC can attend; post a notice about the lawsuit; and report all complaints of disability discrimination or request for accommodation to the EEOC.
"Employers must understand that they cannot treat employees differently based upon stereotypes and unfounded fears," said EEOC Miami District Director Michael Farrell. "We are glad to see this company will be taking steps to ensure its staff is educated about federal disability discrimination law."
EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg added, "In the past year, the Miami District Office has brought enforcement actions on behalf of many people with visual, hearing and physical impairments who were unlawfully denied employment based on their disabilities. We will continue to protect the rights of perfectly capable workers who are denied opportunities on such an unfair and illegal basis."
The EEOC's Miami District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and conducting agency litigation in Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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.