Defense Contractor Refused to Transfer Employee Due to Son's Disability, Then Fired Him, Federal Agency Charged
WASHINGTON - Federal contractor Camber Corporation has agreed to pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability and age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged that Camber Corporation violated federal law when it denied an employee a transfer based on his son's medical condition and then fired him, replacing him with someone more than 20 years younger.
According to the EEOC, employee Ashok Pai's son sustained catastrophic injuries in a car accident as a child and, as a result, has been disabled for more than 25 years. Pai sought a transfer to work nearer to where his son lived and requested leave to assist with his care. Further, immediately after management learned that Pai was exploring the transfer to care for his disabled son, Camber classified him as "resigned," began processing termination paperwork and ultimately fired him for pretextual reasons, the EEOC said. Camber then replaced Pai, who was then in his mid-60s, with a much younger worker.
Such alleged behavior violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Camber Corporation, Case No. 1:17-cv-01084-AJT-JFA) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
On July 2, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Anthony J. Trenga entered a consent decree resolving the case. In addition to a $100,000 award for lost wages, the two-year decree includes injunctive relief to prevent disability and age discrimination from occurring at the company in the future. The decree requires continued annual training on the protections of the ADA and ADEA, including the ADA provision barring employers from discriminating against workers because of their association with disabled persons. The company must also post anti-discrimination notices at its Huntsville, Ala., and Fairfax, Va., locations.
"The ADA not only prohibits employers from discriminating against people with disabilities, it also bans discrimination against employees and applicants based on their association with a person with a disability -- for good reasons," said Washington Field Office Acting Director Mindy Weinstein. "Mr. Pai simply asked for a transfer to help deal with his son's severe disability, and the company made a bad situation worse by punishing him for trying to do the right thing and showing age bias at the same time. The EEOC is here to fight for the rights of people like Ashok Pai."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "When employers violate the law, the EEOC will hold them accountable. We are pleased that the parties were able to reach a resolution to better protect the rights of employees under federal law."
Camber Corporation was headquartered in Huntsville, Ala. This discrimination took place in Falls Church, Va., where the employee worked for Camber at an office within the U.S. Department of Justice.
The EEOC's Washington Field Office has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and the Virginia counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Warren; and the independent Virginia cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester.
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.