Federal Agency Says JES Personnel / Genie Temporary Service Fired Employee Because of His Epilepsy
CHICAGO – JES Personnel Consultants, Inc., doing business as Genie Temporary Service, violated federal disability discrimination law by refusing to allow an employee to return to work because of his epilepsy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. Genie is a temporary service agency with an office in LaSalle, Ill., that supplies employees to various client employers.
John Rowe, director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, said that the agency’s pre-suit investigation indicated that Genie had placed the employee with Clover Technologies Group, LLC, where he unpacked and sorted ink cartridges. After he had a brief epileptic seizure on his first day of work, according to Rowe, Clover allowed him to work the rest of the day, but asked him to provide a note from his doctor authorizing him to return to work after that. The EEOC said that the employee provided the note to Genie the next day, and Genie neither advised him that the note was inadequate nor forwarded the note to Clover, but the employee was not permitted to return and was effectively terminated.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination in employment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. JES Personnel Consultants, Inc. d/b/a Genie Temporary Serivce, Civil Action No. 11 CV 5117, was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer. The government’s litigation effort will be led by EEOC Trial Attorney Gordon Waldron and Supervisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour.
“Temp agencies and other employment agencies play an important role as gatekeepers to employment opportunities throughout our economy,” said John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago. “They have an obligation under federal law to give fair consideration to qualified people with disabilities when making placement decisions.”
The EEOC Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.