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Press Release 10-06-2021

Spike Electric and Controls, LLC to Pay $85,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Electrical Supply Company Fired Employee One Day Before His Scheduled Cancer Surgery, Federal Agency Charged

HOUSTON – Spike Electric and Controls, LLC, located in Houston, will pay a former employee $85,000 to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an outside sales representative employed by Spike Electric was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a form of cancer, and subsequently scheduled to have surgery to remove a tumor. The employee notified the company of his diagnosis and the vice president of sales attempted to reduce the employee’s pay by almost half two days later. Approximately one month later, and one day prior to the employee’s surgery, the employee was informed he was being terminated. The company also interfered with the employee’s subsequent efforts to find employment in the same industry.

Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with a disability and from engaging in interference, coercion or intimidation because the employee exercised rights protected by the ADA. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 4:20-cv-03370) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

Under a two-year consent decree entered on Sept. 29, Spike Electric will pay the employee $85,000 in compensatory damages and will also conduct training regarding the ADA’s prohibition against disability discrimination; update its disability accommodation policies; post a notice prohibiting discrimination in the workplace; and provide regular reports to the EEOC concerning complaints of disability discrimination and retaliation.

“The ADA protects workers who have a disability, ensuring they will not be fired or otherwise subjected to adverse employment actions after disclosing it to their employer,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office.

“Interference with employees’ rights under the ADA is unlawful,” said Lloyd Van Oostenrijk, the EEOC trial attorney in charge of the case. “The Commission aggressively investigates, and, when necessary, prosecutes employers who interfere with their employees’ exercise of their rights under the ADA.”

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