Woman Fired Because of Prior Back Injury and Age, Federal Agency Charges
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – DXP Enterprises, Inc., doing business as DXP Safety Alliance, Inc., violated federal law by subjecting a Farmington, New Mexico woman to disability and age discrimination. In its lawsuit, filed on Sept. 22, 2011, the EEOC said the company fired Connie Brooks because it regarded her as disabled because of a prior back injury, and references were also made to Ms. Brooks’ age, 52.
Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibit employment discrimination based on disabilities, perceived disabilities and age (over age 40). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico (EEOC v. DXP Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a DXP Safety Alliance, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-00849) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.
“Firing employees because of their age or because the employer regards the employee as disabled is against the law,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “We will vigorously prosecute cases where it appears that employment decisions are based on myths, fears or stereotypes about an individual’s ability because of their age or disability.”
The lawsuit asks the court to order the employer to provide Brooks with appropriate relief, including back wages, an equal amount of back wages as liquidated damages, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further disability or age discrimination. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent disability or age discrimination in the workplace.
EEOC Deputy District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, “We will not tolerate discrimination because of disability or age, employees should be judged on the merit of their work, not unlawful perceptions about their abilities.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.