S&C Electric Co. in Chicago unlawfully fired an employee on the bases of age and disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit.
As people are living longer and wanting to work longer, the EEOC recently held a meeting about the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and witnesses made suggestions about how regulators and employers can reduce age discrimination and help people work longer.
According to the agency’s complaint, S&C committed age and disability discrimination when it terminated Richard Rascher after he was released to return to work after taking an approved medical leave for cancer and a hip fracture. S&C fired Rascher, who was 74, after 52 years of service to the company.
“After an approved leave, S&C refused to allow an employee with over a half century of service to simply return to work,” says Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago. “Our investigation revealed Mr. Rascher was fully cleared to return to work, but that S&C insisted he ‘retire’ instead.”
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the ADEA.
The agency said it filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The case is EEOC v. S&C Electric Co., Civil Action No. 17-cv-6753, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The lawsuit seeks both monetary and injunctive relief.
Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, adds, “It is illegal for an employer to insist an employee retire when returning from an approved medical leave when the employee is cleared to go back to work. This is classic discrimination, based on both age and disability.”