Company Failed to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation, Federal Agency Says
HOUSTON - The Houston District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed suit against Valero Refining -- Texas L. P. (Valero). The EEOC suit, (Civil Action No. 3:10-cv-00398 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas), alleges that Valero failed to accommodate Bobby Bass’s disability for a safety test required to permit job assignment at its refinery, and discharged Mr. Bass because of his disability. The complaint alleges that Valero was a joint employer with Modern EPC, which hired Mr. Bass to work as a general foreman on a turnaround project at Valero’s Texas City refinery. The complaint alleges that Valero removed and effectively discharged Mr. Bass from working at its refinery because he supposedly did not take the reading test.
R. J. Ruff, Jr., District Director of the EEOC's Houston District Office, said: "Employers who discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities, who simply need an accommodation to do their jobs, must be held accountable for knowing and complying with the law. The EEOC will vigorously prosecute ADA violations.”
“ Employers must heed requests for reasonable accommodation, particularly when the requests entail little or no burden on business operations as in this case," said Jim Sacher, the EEOC's regional attorney.
The EEOC filed the lawsuits after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer. In the lawsuit, the EEOC is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in employment discrimination, as well as other non-monetary relief to address the unlawful practices. The EEOC is also seeking back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and other relief.
According to its website, valero.com, Valero is North America’s largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer. The Texas City Refinery produces a wide range of petroleum products.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Anyone who believes he or she has been subjected to a discriminatory employment practice is encouraged to contact the EEOC's Houston District Office, which is located in downtown Houston on the sixth floor of the Mickey Leland Federal Building at 1919 Smith Street. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.