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Claims of disability discrimination result in EEOC suit

Minnesota workers may be interested to learn that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a disability discrimination case against Sony Electronics, Inc. and Staffmark Investment LLC. It has been alleged that these companies terminated the services of a woman with a prosthetic leg. The woman was fired due to disability, which is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the district director of the EEOC, sufficient evidence has been found by the EEOC to believe that the woman was terminated due to her disability.

Staffmark, which is a staffing agency, had placed the woman in a temporary job with Sony. The job involved packaging and inspecting the goods that were being sent for shipment. However, on the second day on the job, she was told that she was being relieved from her duties and that Staffmark would find a job for her where she could sit. Although she repeatedly contacted Staffmark for her new assignment, she never received one.

Before filing the lawsuit, the EEOC tried to reach a voluntary settlement through a conciliation process. When they couldn't reach an agreement, the woman filed suit. According to ADA guidelines, people suffering from any disability should be judged on the basis of their performance on the job. The woman here was able to perform the assigned task at Sony without any difficulty but was terminated because of her prosthetic leg. Wrongful termination of employees or denying employment opportunities due to baseless assumptions is illegal and the EEOC defends people who face such unlawful behavior.

According to the regional attorney for the EEOC, staffing agencies cannot escape being liable for discrimination on the grounds that they were working according to the employer's specifications. In addition the employers cannot escape liability on the grounds that the person was employed through a placement agency.

Source:, "EEOC Sues Staffmark and Sony for Disability Discrimination," Dec. 04, 2012

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