The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that an employer in Minnesota, Applied Vacuum Technology (AVT) had agreed to pay $50,000 and engage in other equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination claim brought on behalf of a former AVT employee.
The employee in question was fired when he tried to return to work after being hospitalized for a week. AVT did not dispute that it was aware of the employee's condition and his hospitalization, but it fired him because he failed to call in every day of the hospitalization. The lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of the employee contended that AVT actually fired him because it "regarded him as having a disability, which violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)." This claim is notable in that the employee does not appear to have actually been disabled as defined by the ADA, which can be very difficult to prove in some cases. But where the employer acts based on its belief of the employee's disability, this result shows that an ADA claim can still be successful.
Harper Law has handled many disability discrimination claims in Arizona, including claims involving employee's fired under similar circumstances as this case. If you believe you have been fired or discriminated against because of a disability or a perceived disability, you should contact an employment lawyer as soon as possible.