Press Release 08-17-2020

EEOC Sues K&L Auto Crushers for Disability Discrimination

Auto Recycler Fired Employee During Treatment for Cancer After Denying Her Requests for Accommodation, Federal Agency Charges

DALLAS – Tyler, Texas-based K&L Auto Crushers violated federal law when the company denied its controller’s various requests for reasonable accommodation and then fired her while she was receiving chemotherapy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the controller immediately notified the owner of K&L when she was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer and told her the estimated length of her chemotherapy treatment. Shortly after starting chemotherapy, the owner told the controller that the company had secured temporary help and that she should stay home until she was finished with her chemotherapy. The controller asked the owner if she could work from home and later requested a modified work schedule while she was undergoing chemotherapy, but K&L denied both requests. K&L fired her, but did not tell her she had been terminated until she finished chemotherapy.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for known disabilities. The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No. 6:20-CV-00455, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In this case, the EEOC seeks back pay and com­pensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, including an order barring K&L from engaging in discriminatory treatment in the future.

“This controller was a hardworking, loyal employee who sought multiple avenues to continue working during her illness and chemotherapy treatment,” said Meaghan Kuelbs, senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “Employers should fairly consider an employee’s accommodation request and deny an accommodation only if it would create an undue hardship.”

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