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EEOC Sues Universal Diversified for Disability Discrimination

Sheet Metal Companies Fired Employee  After He Lost One Eye Because of Stigmas Associated With Disability, Federal  Agency Charges

MIAMI - Universal Diversified Enterprises, Inc. and Universal  Diversified Solutions LLC, Miami-based sheet metal fabrication and installation  companies, violated federal law when they fired an employee and refused to let  him to return to work after he recovered from losing an eye in an out-of-work  injury, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee had been  employed as a sheet metal installer when he lost his left eye in injury  sustained out of the workplace. After recovering from the injury and being  cleared to return to work by his medical provider, his employer refused to  schedule his return to work. The man's supervisor fired him, saying that UD  Enterprises' owner did not want him to return because it would be a liability  to the company, and the owner did not want to deal with that "headache."

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with  Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit against UD Enterprises and UD  Solutions, its successor company, in U.S. District Court for the Southern  District of Florida, Miami Division (Case No. 1:18-cv-23573) after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the EEOC's  conciliation process. The suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, and  punitive damages for the terminated employee, as well as injunctive relief designed  to prevent future discrimination.

"This man  was medically cleared to return to work and the company had no right to assume  he was incapable," said Michael Farrell, district  director for the EEOC's Miami District Office. "Employers cannot rely on their  uninformed stereotypes and fears about actual or perceived disabilities to make  employment decisions."

EEOC Miami District Office regional attorney Robert E. Weisberg  added, "The ADA makes it unlawful to terminate an employee who suffered some  type of injury but remains a perfectly capable worker. The EEOC is here to  protect workers' rights under federal law."

The EEOC's Miami District Office is responsible for  processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and conducting  agency litigation in Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S.  Virgin Islands.

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.