Fort McCoy Hotel Fired Employee for Disability-Related Absences, Federal Agency Charges
MADISON, Wis. - PML Services, LLC, which operates the IHG Army Hotel in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, violated federal law when it fired an employee for being absent while recovering from a seizure, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, an employee who had a seizure at home the night before a scheduled day off called her supervisor to ask for two additional days off to recover from the seizure. Her supervisor granted the request and asked to meet with the employee before her next shift. At that meeting, the employee's supervisor and the hotel's manager fired the employee due to disability-related absences and their fears and stereotypes about epilepsy.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended. The EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (EEOC v. PML Services, LLC, doing business as IHG Army Hotels - Fort McCoy, Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-00805) after first trying to settle through its conciliation process. The lawsuit asks the court to order the IHG Army Hotel to pay damages, including punitive damages. The lawsuit also seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting IHG Army Hotels from discriminating against its employees based on disability and requiring the company to communicate with disabled employees who request accommodations to find appropriate accommodations.
"Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to integrate into the national workforce and economy thousands of disabled employees. The law 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 EEOC will prove in court that firing an employee for brief disability-related absences, like the IHG Army Hotel did here, is discriminatory."
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 the IHG Army Hotel, while initially granting the employee's request for time to recover from her seizure, fired her for taking the time the hotel granted her. The hotel cannot evade its obligations under the law in this way."
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.