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Busse Combat Knife Company Sued by EEOC For Disability Discrimination

Wauseon Company Fired Employee After Learning of His Anxiety Disorder, Federal Agency Charges

A Wauseon, Ohio, knife manufacturer violated federal law by discharging an employee because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a recently lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Grant Boss was a CNC machine operator for Busse Combat Knife Company. In June 2016, he suffered an anxiety attack and left work. After learning that Boss suffered from generalized anxiety disorder, the employer asked Boss why he did not disclose this at hire and ordered him to provide a medical note clearing him to work. Even though Boss submitted such a note, the employer fired him because of his disability.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of a disability. The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for Boss in the form of back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Busse Combat Knife Co., Case No. 3:18-cv-00144) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"You cannot fire an employee simply because you learn of an impairment," said EEOC Trial Attorney Dale Price. "The EEOC will vigorously pursue violations of the ADA when employers base their decisions upon such grounds."

The Indianapolis District Office of the EEOC oversees Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and parts of Ohio.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.