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PRESS RELEASE
5-28-19

EEOC Sues Houma Sandblasting, Painting, and Coating Service Provider for Disability Discrimination

Tamco Professional Coating Services Fired an Employee Due to Hearing Loss, Federal Agency Charges

NEW ORLEANS - Tamco Professional Coating Services, Inc. violated federal law when it discriminated against an employee because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed here today. Tamco Professional Coating Services, Inc., (Tamco) which is based in Houma, La., performs sandblasting, painting, soda blasting, pressure washing, water blasting, cleaning, coating, and minor fabrication and repair services.

The EEOC's suit charged that Tamco told the employee, a foreperson, that its insurance costs would increase because of the foreperson's hearing loss. Soon after, it fired the foreperson, purportedly for failing to wear hearing protection. Tamco did so without following its own progressive discipline process. It has claimed that, apart from the foreperson, it has never fired anyone for failing to wear hearing protection.

Such alleged conduct violates Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-10775) today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The EEOC, which has authority to bring the suit on behalf of the public, has asked the court to permanently enjoin Tamco from engaging in future discrimination. It has also asked the court to order the company to pay the foreperson both punitive and compensatory damages, in addition to lost wages and benefits.

"Employers cannot make - and rely upon - unsubstantiated assumptions about an employee's physical or mental impairments," said Keith Hill, director of the EEOC's New Orleans Field Office.

Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney of the Houston District Office, cautioned, "Employers cannot discharge an employee because they fear or suppose that their insurance costs will increase as a result of his mental or physical impairment."

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.