ISS Facility Services, Inc., a Denmark-based workplace experience and facility management company with U.S. headquarters in San Antonio, unlawfully denied its employee’s reasonable request for an accommodation for her disability and then fired her for requesting it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Ronisha Moncrief worked for ISS as a health and safety manager at ISS’s Takeda facility in Covington, Georgia. From March 2020 through June 2020, ISS required all of its employees to work remotely four days per week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2020, when the facility re-opened, Moncrief requested an accommodation to work remotely two days per week and take frequent breaks while working onsite due to her pulmonary condition that causes her to have difficulty breathing and placed her at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19. Although the company allowed other employees in Moncrief’s position to work from home, it denied Moncrief’s request and, shortly thereafter, fired her.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Massachusetts Discrimination Laws. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:21-CV-3708-SCJ-RDC) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.
This case represents the first lawsuit the EEOC has filed about a request for an ADA accommodation related to COVID-19.
“The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities to ensure those with disabilities have an equal opportunity to work to their full ability,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Denying a reasonable accommodation and terminating an employee because of her disability clearly violates the ADA at any time. In light of the additional risks to health and safety created by COVID-19, it is particularly concerning that an employer would take this action several months into a global pandemic.”
Should you be denied a reasonable accommodation and/or terminated because of your disability related to covid-19 at your Massachusetts place of employment, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.