Company Fired Cancer Survivor Even Though She'd Been Cleared to Work, Federal Agency Charges
CLEVELAND - Kyklos Bearing International, LLC (KBI), an Ohio bearings manufacturer, violated federal law by firing an employee because of her cancer, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, KBI terminated Donique Price based on her status as a cancer survivor. The company claims it fired Price because she had medical restrictions which limited her ability to lift and no light-duty work was available. The EEOC charged this reason was a ruse for disability discrimination, because Price had provided KBI with documentation from her doctor establishing that she had been cleared to work without any medical restriction.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Case No. 3:13-cv-01662) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages and lost wages and benefits.
"Ms. Price bravely fought and won her battle against cancer, and now she is fighting for her employment rights," said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and portions of New Jersey and Ohio. "Businesses need to view employees such as Ms. Price as the strong, resilient workers they are, not as potential weak links or future financial risks."
According to the company's website, KBI is the North American leader in Generation 3 Hub Unit Bearings. As a full-service supplier, KBI offers comprehensive Engineering Capabilities, product engineering and product validation capabilities at its manufacturing facility in Sandusky, Ohio.
One of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the agency to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations, among other possible issues.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.