In a verdict in favor of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a jury has found that a licensed security guard with only one arm was unlawfully discriminated against based on his limb loss when his employer, removed him from his post following a customer complaint about his disability, the federal agency recently announced.
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged Florida Commercial Security Services with disability discrimination when it removed Alberto Tarud-Saieh, who had who lost his right arm in a car accident, from his $8-an-hour security guard position after the president of the community association where he was stationed complained, “The company is a joke. You sent me a one-armed security guard.” The EEOC said the company removed Tarud-Saieh from his post and failed to reassign him to another post, effectively terminating his employment.
At trial, the EEOC argued based on well-settled law that reliance on discriminatory customer preferences and stereotypes about what individuals with disabilities can and cannot do violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 13-20465) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
“It is unfortunate that disability discrimination in the workplace persists,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “As we have shown, the EEOC will take those cases to trial, if necessary, to vindicate the rights of the victims.”
In addition to the monetary damages awarded by the jury totaling $35,922, the EEOC will seek an injunction prohibiting discrimination in the future by the defendant as well as other equitable and injunctive relief, including training and the implementation of anti-discrimination employment policies to be determined by the court.
Full article available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-23-14.cfmr