The EEOC filed a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against Florida Commercial Security Services (FCSS) after it terminated Alberto Tarud-saieh for failing to wear his prosthetic arm. The EEOC alleged that FCSS hired Mr. Tarud-saieh to work as a security guard patrolling a community association. Mr. Tarud-saieh's job involved driving a security vehicle around a community association. At his first day on the job, Mr. Tarud-saieh did not wear his prosthetic arm to work. The EEOC alleges that after only one day on the job the president of the community association contacted FCSS to complain that it sent them a one-armed security guard. FCSS immediately removed Mr. Tarud-saieh from his position as a security guard and he then filed a discrimination charge. Thereafter, the EEOC alleges that FCSS retaliated against Mr. Tarud-saieh for filing his charge when it refused to place him in another job position and thus terminated his employment. According to an EEOC press release, Mr. Tarud-saieh did not need his prosthetic arm to perform his job, he was never instructed by FCSS to wear it, and therefore, the company violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
It is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") to terminate an employee because of a disability. Under the ADA, an individual is disabled if they have/are: "(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment." Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office, stated, "[t]he ADA requires that people with disabilities be judged on their ability to perform the essential functions of the job - not on stereotypes or appearances. Customer complaints about an employee's appearance created by his disability are not a legitimate reason to terminate him." Additionally, the ADA specifically prohibits retaliation against any individual who has filed a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the ADA. An employer who violates the ADA, may be held responsible for paying lost wages, costs and attorneys fees, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and could be ordered to reinstate the employment.
Attorney is an associate attorney with Alan C. Olson & Associates, S.C. If you have any questions about disability discrimination, please contact her at [email protected].