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Worker with prosthetic leg files disability discrimination suit

Physical or mental disabilities can make certain tasks more challenging for folks in San Diego, but a disability does not necessarily mean that an individual is incapable of working.

There are many disabled people throughout California who are employed and able to do their jobs well. Unfortunately, there are also employers out there who fail to recognize that disabled job applicants or workers are just as capable of succeeding in the workplace as nondisabled workers.

When employers fail to hire qualified individuals who are disabled or fire workers because of a disability, employers may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law bans disability discrimination in the workplace. Just last week, Sony Electronics was accused of violating the ADA. The ex-employee who is suing the company and a staffing agency claims that she was let go because she has a prosthetic leg.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the disability discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit last week. The EEOC claims that Sony and Staffmark Investment, a staffing agency, both violated the employee's rights by firing her because of her disability.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was hired in October 2010 by the staffing agency to perform work for Sony. But after only two days on the job, the woman was told that she would no longer be working for Sony and that the agency would find another job for her. However, the agency never found other work for the woman.

The EEOC claims that the plaintiff was capable of doing the work she had been asked to do for Sony, but the company decided to fire the woman because of "unjustified fears about her having a prosthetic leg." Sony maintains that it did not violate the employee's rights.

Although an employer may be worried that a disabled individual will not be capable of doing his or job, this does not give the employer the right to fire the disabled employee. Certain actions must be taken before an employer can legally terminate a disabled employee. In many cases, employers discover that there is no reason to worry about disabled employees' abilities in the workplace.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "EEOC lawsuit alleges woman fired because of prosthetic leg," Ameet Sachdev, Dec. 5, 2012

  • Our firm handles a variety of employment law and job rights issues, including complaints about disability discrimination or harassment. To learn more about employees' rights, please visit our San Diego employment discrimination attorneys page.