A Detroit provider of charter school education and related education services violated federal law by firing an employee because of her breast cancer, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit (EEOC v. Evans Solutions, Inc., Case No. 2:09CV13016) filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Doris Bennett worked successfully for Evans Solutions as a school social worker. In April 2007, Bennett advised her supervisor that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would need to take leave for treatment. Despite the fact that she had been performing well at her job, Evans Solutions terminated her employment in July 2007 for unspecified reasons, the only social worker terminated by the company. The true reason for her termination was the breast cancer diagnosis, the EEOC asserted.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from terminating employees because of such medical conditions. The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for Bennett in the form of back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
"Ms. Bennett had already proven her worth to the employer, but the management chose to terminate her despite her fine work record," said EEOC Indianapolis Regional Attorney Laurie Young, whose jurisdiction includes Michigan. "The EEOC will vigorously pursue violations of the ADA when employers base their decisions on baseless myths, fears and stereotypes about people with cancer."The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov