Waunakee Store Fired Woman for Seeking Medical Attention, Federal Agency Charges
MILWAUKEE – The BP One Stop store at 404 West Main Street in Waunakee, Wis. , owned and operated by Meffert Oil Company, Inc., violated federal civil rights laws by firing an employee because of her disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed this morning in federal district court in Madison, Wis. Among other businesses, Waunakee-based Meffert owns and operates two BP One Stop stores in Waunakee.
Rosemary Fox, director of EEOC’s Milwaukee Area Office, noted that the agency’s administrative investigation, which preceded the lawsuit, revealed that Meffert appeared to have fired the woman for leaving her workplace to seek medical attention for her conditions, interstitial familial pulmonary fibrosis and panic attacks.
“No employer can force upon any disabled employee the impossible choice between necessary medical treatment and his or her job,” said Fox.
The EEOC sued after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for the victim and injunctive relief to end the discriminatory practices. The suit, captioned EEOC v. Meffert Oil Company, Inc., d/b/a Meffert’s BP One Stop (Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-00360), was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison. The case will be litigated primarily by Cesar del Peral and attorneys in the EEOC’s Milwaukee Area Office.
John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District, said, “Meffert’s BP One Stop allegedly discarded an employee whom it apparently thought useless because she had medical conditions. The EEOC will make its case and, we expect, vindicate the guiding principle that in America everyone gets the same opportunity to make a living, regardless of disabilities. This is the land of opportunity for everyone, not just the able-bodied.”
The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov .