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Press Release 10-26-2022

EEOC Sues Global Medical Response and American Medical Response for Religious and Disability Discrimination

Emergency Transport Companies Failed to Accommodate First Responders with Beards for Religious Reasons or due to Medical Conditions, Federal Agency Charges

DENVER – Emergency transport companies Global Medical Response, Inc. (“GMR”), American Medical Response, Inc. (“AMR”), and AMR’s subsidiaries located in Greenwood Village, Colorado, violated federal law by discriminating and retaliating against a nationwide class of applicants and employee first responders with sincerely-held religious beliefs and disabilities that required them to wear beards in conflict with GMR and AMR’s policy against facial hair, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, since at least December 2018, applicants and employees in the EMT and paramedic positions requested accommodations from GMR and AMR to be allowed to wear facial hair due to medical conditions or because of their religious beliefs. GMR and AMR have a “no facial hair” policy for their EMTs and paramedics related to their wearing of respirators while working that GMR and AMR contend will not fit properly if the employee has facial hair. However, GMR and AMR denied the applicants and employees the use of a respirator that would have allowed them to maintain their facial hair and perform their jobs safely. Due to GMR and AMR’s unlawful denial of accommodations to these first responders, some were forced to shave in violation of their religious beliefs or their doctor’s orders, to keep their jobs, while those who would not shave or complained their rights were being violated due the companies’ policy were fired.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, (“ADA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which require the accommodation of employees’ disabilities and religious beliefs, respectively, and prohibit firing or refusing to hire an applicant or employee because of their disability or their religion or because they engaged in protected activity. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:22-CV-02544) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the applicants and employees, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

“Title VII requires employers to accommodate the sincerely-held religious beliefs of their employees when it is not an undue burden for the employer,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Additionally, the ADA requires employers to accommodate employees with disabilities. GMR and AMR’s ‘no facial hair’ policy, however, does not permit any exceptions for disabilities or religious beliefs, which violates federal law.”

“GMR and AMR operate one of the largest medical transport companies in the country, but refuse to allow the wearing of facial hair even when it is religiously or medically required,” said Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office.  “This is a nationwide lawsuit not just to help those who have already been subjected to discrimination, but to ensure the same policy does not prevent future applicants or employees from working for one of the largest companies in the field.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information religious discrimination is available at . More information about disability discrimination is available at  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.