August 2, 2023
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Construction Company Failed to Provide Disability Accommodation and Discriminated and Retaliated Against Employee, Federal Agency Charges
Singley Construction Company, Inc., a Columbia, Mississippi-based company specializing in environmental and remediation services, violated federal law when it failed to accommodate an employee’s disability and then retaliated against her for requesting accommodation and filing a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency charged in a lawsuit filed on July 31.
The EEOC charged that Singley refused to accommodate its office manager’s end-stage renal disease. Specifically, the agency alleged, Singley denied the employee’s request to perform continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) on Singley’s premises so that she could maintain her full-time work schedule. According to the EEOC, this denial forced the office manager to lose around 50% of her work hours and pay as she had to regularly leave work to undergo her dialysis treatments. The EEOC further alleged that Singley constructively discharged the employee because of her disability and in retaliation for requesting a reasonable accommodation and for filing an EEOC charge.
Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for their employees’ disabilities and prohibits retaliation against employees for requesting accommodations or filing charges with the EEOC. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (Civil Action No. 2:23-cv-00106-KS-MTP) after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In litigation, the EEOC seeks monetary damages for the employee including back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such unlawful conduct in the future.
“Employees on dialysis have rights under the ADA so that they can maintain their employment,” said Marsha Rucker, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District. “Employers would be well advised to recognize the right of workers to request reasonable accommodation for disabilities and to receive reasonable accommodation for disabilities absent undue hardship and direct threat. When businesses ignore these rights, the EEOC will hold them accountable.”
The EEOC’s Birmingham District director, Bradley Anderson, explained, “The workers’ rights established by the ADA have stood strong for more than three decades now. Unfortunately, too many corporations still fail to protect equal employment opportunities for workers with disabilities and retaliate against workers for exercising their rights. The EEOC is proud to make sure that American businesses fulfill their duties under this landmark law.”
For more information on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations, please visit eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination-and-employment-decisions. For more information on retaliation, please visit eeoc.gov/retaliation.
The EEOC’s Birmingham District Office is charged with enforcing federal employment discrimination laws in Alabama, Mississippi (except for 17 northern counties), and the Florida Panhandle.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.