Ranew’s Management Company, Inc. (“Ranew’s”), a local, state, and national provider of fabrication, coating, and assembly products, will pay $250,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced on February 14.
According to the EEOC’s suit, a Ranew’s employee informed the company of his diagnosis of severe depression and requested to take three weeks off work, per his doctor’s recommendation. Ranew’s CEO told the employee to take as much time as he needed to get well. However, six weeks later, when the employee tried to return to work, presenting a release to return to work from his doctor, the CEO said he could not trust the employee to perform his job duties and instead fired him.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 5:21-CV-00443-MTT) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its voluntary conciliation process.
Under the consent decree resolving the lawsuit, Ranew’s will pay $250,000 in monetary damages to the employee. Ranew’s also agreed to reporting, monitoring, training, creation and distribution of ADA policies, and notice posting.
“The ADA makes it clear that employment decisions must be made based on employee qualifications rather than on stereotypes about an employee’s disability,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “The EEOC is pleased the employee here has been compensated and Ranew’s Company agreed to take the necessary steps to implement an ADA policy and to train its executives, managers, and employees on its obligations under the ADA, in an effort to prevent this from happening in the future.”
Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “The EEOC is committed to seeking relief for workers who are harmed by employers who discriminate against employees with disabilities because of biases and fears.”