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EEOC Sues IDEC Corporation for Disability Discrimination

Illinois Manufacturer Fired Employee Because It  Regarded Him as Disabled, Federal Agency Charges

CHICAGO - IDEC  Corporation, a worldwide industrial device manufacturer, unlawfully fired an  employee at its East Dundee, Ill., location whom it regarded as disabled, the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it  filed.

The EEOC  alleges that IDEC committed unlawful disability discrimination when it fired Steven  Massie because of a perceived impairment. According to Julianne Bowman, the  EEOC's district director in Chicago, the EEOC's pre-suit administrative  investigation revealed that IDEC fired Massie because of the per­ceived  disabilities of sleep apnea and a heart condition.

Such alleged conduct violates  the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).   The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 18-cv-4168) in U.S. District Court  for the Northern District of Illinois after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, EEOC v.  IDEC Corp., was assigned to U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. The  EEOC's lawsuit seeks both monetary and injunctive relief. The government's  litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Bradley Fiorito and EEOC  Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason.

"Terminating people who may or  may not have a disability because you fear that they do is unlawful for good  reasons," said Bowman. "Our investigation revealed that Mr. Massie was fully capable  of working, but that IDEC took his job from him simply based on unfounded fears  and stereotypes regarding his supposed impairment."

Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago,  added, "The EEOC takes discrimination based on an assumption of disability just  as seriously as discrimination based on an actual impairment. This is common and  harmful but an often overlooked form of discrimination that cannot be ignored."

The EEOC's Chicago District Office  is responsible for processing charges of discrimin­ation, adminis­trative enforcement  and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa  and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC  advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.   Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.