Company Insufficiently Accommodated Vision-Impaired Employee, Federal Agency Charges
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Charter Communications, LLC, which bought Time Warner Cable, violated federal law when it refused to provide an ongoing accommodation for an employee with a disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, an employee who could not drive at night due to cataracts and night blindness, and who worked a shift ending at 9:00 p.m., asked to be moved to an earlier shift. Charter granted the request, but only for about a month. The employee requested an extension, but Charter refused to grant it. After the accommodation expired, Charter, without consulting with the employee about needing further accommodation, moved him back to the shift ending at 9:00 p.m.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (EEOC v. Charter Communications, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-1333 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit asks the court to order Charter to pay damages, including punitive damages. The lawsuit also seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Charter from discriminating against its employees based on disability in the future and requiring the company to communicate with employees with disabilities who request accommodations to find appropriate ones for them.
"The ADA requires employers to accommodate disabled employees who are qualified to do their jobs," said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District. "The only exceptions are when the accommodation would create a safety threat to the employee or others or pose an undue hardship to the employer. The EEOC will prove in court that none of those exceptions applied here and that Charter should have continued to accommodate its employee."
Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC's Chicago District, said, "The ADA requires employers to consult with disabled employees who request help to find a reasonable way to accommodate them so they can do their jobs. The EEOC found during its investigation that Charter only granted a one-month shift change without consulting the employee about his needs. Charter did not meet its obligations under the law, and the EEOC is here to fight for the rights of such employees."
The EEOC's Chicago District is responsible for investigating charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
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.