Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of a disability. This means that in any aspect of employment, whether it be hiring, firing, assignments, training etc. a person's disability should not serve as a barrier to their advancement or continuance in the workforce. And as achieving longevity and success in a work environment is a difficult endeavor for the worker without a disability, it's more than twice as challenging for employees who have them.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there are hundreds of millions of people around the world that have some form of a disability. But only a mere 35% of people with at least one disability and are of working age are actually employed. And when they are eventually hired, they aren't expected to maintain their jobs for long periods of time in comparison to workers who don't have disabilities.
A Minnesota disabled worker employed by a St. Paul-based design, packaging and printing company experienced an act that the EEOC is describing as disability workplace discrimination. The EEOC has recently filed a lawsuit against Impressions Inc. in federal court under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The commission alleges that the company's behavior of ordering a longtime employee to see a doctor and ultimately firing him when he complied is a clear act of discrimination.
Justin Cadmus was diagnosed with depression in 2014 by his family practitioner. When his supervisor was informed that he had stopped taking his antidepressant medication a year later, he required that Cadmus go see a doctor, a psychologist and that he put back on medication. Cadmus did what his boss asked and was still ultimately fired. The 32-year-old worked for the company for 10 years as a press helper for the company before his sudden firing. Higher ups considered him a top performer and a hard worker.
The EEOC decided to sue after a failed attempt to settle the debacle with Impressions. Regional Attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District Office, Greg Gochanour, commented on the allegations, calling the company's behavior “callous” and “unlawful.”
“Mr. Cadmus should not have been asked to take the two examinations in the first place, but he did so, and yet he was fired anyway,” Gochanour said. “The EEOC is here to combat such unfair conduct.”
Impressions has denied all of the EEOC's allegations. The company's co-owner called the claims “unfounded” and claims that in the company's 50 years of business they've never encountered a single problem.
Cadmus' suit seeks unspecified punitive damages and back pay with interest for his firing. The EEOC also requests that the company makes policy changes regarding employment law.
Disability discrimination should not be tolerated in the workplace, and those who are guilty of doing so should be held accountable. If you have been fired or denied a job based on a disability you have or an employers perceived assumption of a disability, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the skilled attorneys at Benassi & Benassi to impose your right to equal treatment under the law.