The Gap Charged with ADA Violation

November 22, 2010 ( –Global clothing retailer The Gap violated federal law by firing an employee at its Howell, Michigan, store because of his disability, according to a new lawsuit.

A news release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said Wayne Cook worked successfully for The Gap as a store manager for nearly three years.

According to the EEOC, in December 2007, Cook took leave to address problems caused by his glomerolonephritis, a kidney disorder. In January 2008, he provided his supervisor with a detailed description of his medical conditions and the problems he was experiencing. In February, Cook returned to work and was fired on the spot, the EEOC said, allegedly for having tolerated the violation of a work rule prior to taking a leave of absence.

The agency charged that such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from terminating employees because of such medical conditions.

“Mr. Cook was a well-regarded manager, but The Gap chose to terminate him based upon unjustified concerns surrounding his medical condition,” said EEOC Indianapolis Regional Attorney Laurie Young, in the news release. “The EEOC will pursue vigorously violations of the ADA, including cases like this one, when employers terminate employees based upon fears and stereotypes about their physical condition.”