Gas Station Convenience Store Chain Unlawfully Refused Accommodation for Worker With a Back Impairment and Then Fired Him, Federal Agency Charges
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Murphy Oil Corporation, which operates Murphy USA retail gasoline stores typically located in Walmart parking lots in over 20 states, violated federal law by firing a store manager because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Murphy USA fired the employee of 10 years instead of providing a reasonable work accommodation as recommended by his doctors for his back impairment. EEOC's suit also claims that the company fired the employee as retaliation immediately after complaining to management about the failure to accommodate his medical restrictions.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would cause a significant expense or difficulty to the employer. Retaliation against an employee for raising or reporting discrimination to supervisors also violates the ADA. The ADA also protects individuals from coercion, intimidation, threat, harassment, or interference in their exercise of their own rights or their encouragement of someone else's exercise of rights granted by the ADA.
"EEOC is committed to vigorously enforcing the ADA and its retaliation provisions," said David Rivela, EEOC senior trial attorney in EEOC's San Antonio Field Office. "Where efforts to secure voluntary compliance are not successful, we will not hesitate to sue to protect people who assert their rights under the law by reporting discrimination."
EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Del Rio Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Murphy Oil Corporation, Civil Action No. 2:16-cv-00048) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the victim, as well as injunctive relief.
"When employees with disabilities are qualified and seeking to continue to work with some degree of medical restriction, employers have a legal duty to consider requests for reasonable accommodation," said Eduardo Juarez, supervisory trial attorney for EEOC's San Antonio Field Office. "Firing an employee with a disability simply because an employer does not want to make an accommodation violates the federal law, and EEOC is here to enforce that law."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.