Construction Company Fired and Then Refused to Rehire Amputee, Federal Agency Charged
PHOENIX -- A Phoenix electrical construction company will pay $23,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that ABCO West Electrical Construction and Design / ABCO Electrical Construction and Design discriminated against Bill Hackney, who has an amputated leg, when it laid him off because of his disability and because he requested a reasonable accommodation. In addition, the EEOC charged that ABCO West refused to rehire Hackney due to his disability, and in retaliation for requesting a reasonable accommodation and reporting ABCO West's discriminatory actions to his labor union and the EEOC.
Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities and from retaliating for complaining about discrimination or requesting an accommodation. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. ABCO West Electrical Construction & Design L.L.C. and ABCO Electrical Construction & Design L.L.C., Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-01842) in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary settlement of $23,000, the consent decree settling the suit requires that ABCO West must provide training for employees on disability discrimination and retaliation, develop policies prohibiting disability discrimination and retaliation, and post a notice that discrimination against ABCO West employees is unlawful.
"The ADA protects disabled employees in every industry, including construction. It is unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of disability or take action against disabled employees who request reasonable accommodations," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "We are pleased that ABCO West will institute policies and training to prevent disability discrimination from happening in the future."
EEOC District Director Rayford O. Irvin added, "Federal law prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to disabled individuals because they request reasonable accommodations. It is in the best interest of employers to educate themselves about the ADA and take steps to prevent disability discrimination in the workplace."
The EEOC's Phoenix District has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.