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Press Release 05-29-2014

EEOC Sues Orion Energy for Disability Discrimination

Manitowoc Company Fired Employee Because He Needs a Wheelchair, Federal Agency Charges

MILWAUKEE - Manitowoc, Wis.-based Orion Energy Systems, Inc. violated federal law by firing an employee because of his disability, a mobility impairment, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC contends that Orion fired Scott Conant after he experienced a disabling condition that substantially limited his ability to walk and required that he use a wheel-chair. The EEOC said that Conant's termination followed his request for accommoda-tions to allow him to enter and exit the Orion workplace, such as an automatic door opener. Orion never installed a door opener while Conant worked there.

The EEOC brought the suit under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination in employment, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, (EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Civil Action No. 14-cv- 00619) was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Chief Judge William C Griesbach.

"Doors to meaningful employment must remain open for persons with disabilities," said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District. "Here, the doors were shut in Mr. Conant's face both literally and figuratively. The EEOC is here to make sure those doors stay open for people wrongly and illegally denied opportunities because of disabilities."

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at .