Black Employee with Disability Involuntarily Transferred and Fired for Opposing It, Federal Agency Charged

EEOC CHICAGO – Peoria’s Green Chevrolet will pay $65,000 to settle an EEOC Discrimination suit. The Chevrolet dealership will also give other relief to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

“The EEOC is pleased that this employer has agreed to train its managers on the requirements of the ADA and Title VII,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago. “We always prefer to prevent discrimination from occurring in the first place, rather than trying to seek a fix after the fact.”

The EEOC previously won a judgement against Lafontaine Cadillac Buick GMC, another GM dealer in a racial discrimination suit.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Canada has no law similar in scope or authority to the Americans with Disabilities Act nor an agency like the EEOC. In Canada, people with disabilities who experience discrimination in employment must file and litigate their own case. Depending on where they work and live that may include either the Canadian Human Rights Commission or with 12 different provincial human rights commissions. The complexity and onerous cost of these complaints and litigation effectively removes rights of Canadians to use to the law.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Green Chevrolet violated federal law by forcing an employee to transfer to a position that had never before existed when the company learned that the employee was experiencing kidney failure and would need regular dialysis treatment.

The EEOC also alleged that when the black employee resisted his transfer by explaining that he was healthy enough to continue working his sales advisor job and by asking why the company did not “get a white guy” to do the new job, the company fired him in retaliation for this opposition.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit on Sept. 29, 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Peoria (Civil Action No. 15 C 1412) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Judge Michael M. Mihm (photo Journal Star / Fred Zwicky)

Judge Michael M. Mihm (photo Journal Star / Fred Zwicky)

Under the consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Michael M. Mihm, Green Chevrolet will pay the former employee $65,000. In addition, the decree prohibits Green Chevrolet from engaging in disability discrimination or retaliation in the future. The decree also requires the company to train its managers about the requirements of the ADA and Title VII and to report complaints of disability or race discrimination to the EEOC.

EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.

Gochanour said, “We are gratified by Green’s determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve the case by providing compensation to its former employee and undertaking measures to assure future compliance with the ADA and Title VII. Early resolution of cases benefits everyone – the discrimination victims, the employers, the EEOC and the courts.”

Canada moves towards Canadians with Disabilities Act

Canadian Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough recently complete a round of public consultations with Canadians on the subject of Canadians with disabilities. “Qualtrough says most aspects of the anticipated Canadians with Disabilities Act will address employment issues in some way, citing examples such as targeted programs or improving building standards that might make future workplaces more accessible.” Global News

Minister Qualtrough recently visited her counterparts in the United States. Afterwards she tweeted “Great visit to Washington to discuss accessibility, hear some best practices learnt from the ADA & share our vision for an #AccessibleCanada”

Minister Qualtrough visits Washington to discuss accessibility

Minister Qualtrough visits Washington to discuss accessibility