On May 25, 2011, the EEOC filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Meffert Oil Company, Inc., which owns and operates BP One Stop stores in Waunakee, Wisconsin. The EEOC sued the company for allegedly firing an employee because of her disabilities. The employee at issue, who suffers from interstitial familial pulmonary fibrosis and panic attacks, alleges that the Defendant fired her for leaving work to seek medical attention for her disabilities.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer is prohibited from firing a qualified employee because of his or her disability. In a May 25, 2011 press release by the EEOC, John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District, was quoted as saying, “The EEOC will make its case and, we expect, vindicate the guiding principle that in America everyone gets the same opportunity to make a living, regardless of disabilities. This is the land of opportunity for everyone, not just the able-bodied.” If the employee’s allegations are true, Meffert Oil Company may potentially be held responsible for paying her lost wages, costs and attorneys fees she may have accrued, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and could be ordered to reinstate her employment.