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Press Release 08-27-2012

ABCO West Electrical Will Pay $23,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Construction  Company Fired and Then Refused to Rehire Amputee, Federal  Agency Charged

PHOENIX  -- A Phoenix electrical construction company will pay $23,000 and furnish other  relief to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by  the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced  today.

The  EEOC charged in its lawsuit that ABCO West Electrical Construction and Design /  ABCO Electrical Construction and Design discriminated against Bill Hackney, who  has an amputated leg, when it laid him off because of his disability and  because he requested a reasonable accommodation.  In addition, the EEOC charged that ABCO West  refused to rehire Hackney due to his disability, and in retaliation for requesting  a reasonable accommodation and reporting ABCO West's discriminatory actions to  his labor union and the EEOC.

Such  alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against  qualified individuals with disabilities and from retaliating for complaining  about discrimination or requesting an accommodation.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. ABCO West Electrical Construction & Design L.L.C. and ABCO  Electrical Construction & Design L.L.C., Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-01842)  in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after first attempting to  reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

In  addition to the monetary settlement of $23,000, the consent decree settling the  suit requires that ABCO West must provide training for employees on disability  discrimination and retaliation, develop policies prohibiting disability  discrimination and retaliation, and post a notice that discrimination against  ABCO West employees is unlawful.

 "The ADA protects disabled employees in every  industry, including construction.  It is  unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of disability or take  action against disabled employees who request reasonable accommodations," said  Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "We  are pleased that ABCO West will institute policies and training to prevent disability  discrimination from happening in the future."

 EEOC District Director Rayford O. Irvin added,  "Federal law prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to  disabled individuals because they request reasonable accommodations.  It is in the best interest of employers to  educate themselves about the ADA and take steps to prevent disability discrimination  in the workplace."

The  EEOC's Phoenix District has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah,  and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is  available on its web site at