Woman Fired Because She Suffered a Heart Attack, Federal Agency Charged
ATLANTA – Oxford Glenn of Wrightsboro, LLC, Stansberry & Co., LLC, Stansberry Development, LLC and Stansberry Management, LLC, doing business as Fox Den Apartments, which manages several large residential apartment complexes in Augusta, Ga., unlawfully discriminated against an employee due to her heart condition, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Civil Action No., 2:11-cv-00263, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Fox Den Apartments violated federal law by firing Phyleas Dixon because she suffered a heart attack on roughly three months after she was hired as a property manager. Within hours after Dixon’s heart attack, Fox Den Apartments advertised her position online on Craig’s List. Dixon was told by the company’s owner that he didn’t think she would want to come back to work or would be able to do the job. After receiving medical clearance, Dixon returned to work on Nov. 1, 2010, but was subsequently terminated on Nov. 9. The agency argues that the company terminated Dixon because of the heart attack and the employer’s conclusion that her condition rendered her unqualified.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on a disability or perceived disability. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Dixon. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief designed to stop and prevent any future discrimination.
“The ADA was amended by Congress to clarify the broad range of protections afforded to persons with actual or perceived disabilities,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Ms. Dixon’s case is a prime example of an employer making employment decisions based on presumptions that violate the letter and spirit of the ADAAA.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.