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Press Release 07-25-2014

EEOC Sues Erie Strayer Company for Disability Discrimination

Erie  Equipment Supplier Made Unlawful Medical Inquiries and Engaged in Retaliation, Federal  Agency Charges

PITTSBURGH - The Erie Strayer  Company, an Erie-Pa.-based construction equipment supplier, violated federal  disability discrimination law, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

The EEOC said that the Erie Strayer  Company unlawfully subjected Thomas Young and a class of other, similarly situated  employees to a policy and practice of unlawful medical inquiries and adverse  employment actions resulting from such inquiries.  These actions included coercion, intimida­tion,  threats, and interference with the exercise and enjoyment of their protected  rights.  The EEOC charged that the  company also retaliated against employees for their refusal to comply with the  company's policy and practice of unlawful medical inquiries.

The Erie Strayer Company's alleged  conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects  employees from discrimination based on their actual or perceived disabilities.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of  Pennsylvania (Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission v. Erie Strayer  Company, Civil Action No. 1:14-cv-00199) after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC is seeking compensa­tory damages and  punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

"Requiring employees to reveal the  specific nature of their medical illness in order to have necessary sick leave count  as an excused absence is an unlawful disability-related inquiry under the ADA  and not justified by business necessity," said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence  of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania,  Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and portions of New Jersey and Ohio.  "Employees should not have to worry that this  very sensitive, private and potentially harmful information will be used by the  employer against them to unfairly exclude them from jobs that they could  otherwise perform."

The EEOC enforces federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further  information about the Commission is available at its website,