Triple-S Vida, Inc. Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Life Insurance Company Refused to Accommodate Employee, Federal Agency Charges

San Juan, Puerto Rico – Triple-S Vida, Inc., the leading life insurance company in Puerto Rico, violated federal law by refusing to accommodate an employee with a disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the employee worked for Triple-S Vida, Inc. (“Triple-S Vida”) as an Authorized Sales Representative, a position which required extensive driving, when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which caused her bodily pain and fatigue. In 2018, the employee requested reassignment to a position that did not involve driving. Triple-S Vida refused to provide her with a reasonable accommodation such as reassignment to a vacant non-driving position for which she was qualified. Instead, Triple-S Vida directed her to apply to company postings on her own. Despite the employee’s applications over the course of several years to open positions for which she was qualified, Triple-S Vida refused to re-assign her to any of the positions to which she applied. Triple-S Vida re-assigned her to a non-driving position in 2021 only after she filed a charge with the EEOC, and the EEOC issued a letter of determination finding reasonable cause to believe Triple-S Vida had violated federal law. In addition to inflicting pain and suffering, Triple-S Vida’s refusal to accommodate the employee for years caused her health to decline.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (EEOC v. Triple S Vida, Inc., Case No. 3:21-cv-01463) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the employee. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent and correct disability discrimination and training of managers about federal equal employment opportunity laws.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination and requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees’ disabilities as long as it causes no undue hardship.” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District. “Under the ADA, reassignment to a vacant position is included as a possible reasonable accommodation.”

William Sanchez, director of the EEOC’s San Juan Local Office added, “Employers should keep in mind that they are bound by federal laws protecting employee rights at all times – not just after they are investigated by EEOC or other law enforcement agencies. The San Juan Local Office will be vigilant of any violation of the law.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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