September 27, 2021
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
International Freight Company Fired Manager Because of His Cancer, Federal Agency Charges
Pilot Freight Services, Inc., an international freight shipping and logistics company based in Atlanta, unlawfully fired its international manager because of his cancer, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.
According to the EEOC’s suit, on or about June 7, 2019, Thomas Hunt informed his manager that he needed to request leave to see his doctor about some biopsy results. About 10 days later, Hunt was terminated by Pilot, allegedly as a result of a reduction in force. Pilot claimed that Hunt was laid off because he had less tenure than other employees and his position was eliminated. However, in the months leading up to and following Hunt’s discharge, Pilot hired several employees who were not discharged based on tenure and hired an employee in a position very similar to the one that Hunt previously held, and with a higher salary.
Such conduct violates the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:21-CV-3936-MLB-LTW) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for Hunt, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.
“The ADA prohibits employers from terminating their employees because of a disability and denying them equal employment opportunities,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “As it is in this case, a reduction in workforce is often a facade for discrimination and employers will not be shielded by it.”
Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “Cancer is a big enough catastrophe for anyone without an employer piling on and firing him or her because of the disease. It’s cruel and unlawful. The EEOC is committed to enforcing the ADA to protect the rights of such aggrieved employees.”
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