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.