On September 9, 2010, the EEOC announced the filing of three separate lawsuits charging employers in Maryland, Georgia and Michigan with violations of the recently-amended Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). All three cases were filed under the broader and simplified definition of a disability as contained in the ADA Amendments Act, which were signed into law by President Obama on September 25, 2008, and became effective January 1, 2009.
In Baltimore, the EEOC sued an Ellicott City, Maryland, surveying company, Fisher, Collins and Carter, for allegedly violating the ADA when it fired two employees who had diabetes and hypertension because of their illnesses. In its suit, the EEOC alleged that the Howard County firm discriminated against two employees when it discharged them shortly after requesting that they and all other employees respond to a questionnaire regarding their health conditions, medical issues and medications.
One employee had worked for the company for 15 years, starting as a rodman, and was a party chief at his termination. The other employee had been employed since 2000 as a rodman. The EEOC alleges that despite their successful performance throughout their careers, the company unlawfully fired the two employees on January 21, 2009.
In the suit, the EEOC is seeking a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any future employment practices that discriminate on the basis of a disability, the implementation of written policies to provide equal employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities, monetary and injunctive relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages for both employees, and changes in employment policies to provide equal employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities. (EEOC v. Fisher, Collins and Carter, Case No. 10-CV-2453.).
In Georgia the EEOC sued the Eckerd Corporation, d/b/a Rite Aid, when a long-term employee with severe degenerative arthritis was denied the use of a stool she had used as a reasonable accommodation for six years. (EEOC v. Eckerd Corporation, d/b/a Rite Aid, Civil Action No. 1:10-CV-2816-JEC.)
In Michigan, the EEOC sued IPC Print Services, Inc., alleging that the employer discharged an employee with cancer who requested a temporary part-time schedule as an accommodation of his disability. According to the EEOC, the employee had been employed by IPC as a machinist for over ten years. The employee went on medical leave in 2008 in order to undergo chemotherapy.
The EEOC alleged that in January 2009, when the employee sought to continue working part-time while he completed his treatment, the company discharged him for exceeding the maximum hours of leave allowed under company policy. That decision, the EEOC contended, violated the company's obligation to reasonably accommodate the employee's disability. (EEOC v. IPC Print Services, Inc., Case No. 10-CV-886.)