Companies Fired Employee Following His Heart Attack and While Out on Short-Term Disability Leave, Federal Agency Charged
HOUSTON – Two oil and gas exploration companies -- Vantage Energy Services, Inc. and Vantage International Management Company Pte. Ltd. -- will pay $54,500 and provide training to its managers and human resources staff to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an employee suffered a heart attack while working aboard one of the defendants’ drill ships off the coast of West Africa. Just days before his scheduled return to work from leave, he was discharged.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discharging employees because of their disability. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Vantage Drilling Company, No. 18-cv-00254) on Jan. 26, 2018 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
The district court approved the two-year consent decree settling the suit on Dec. 20, 2021, awarding $54,500 in monetary damages to the employee. The decree also requires the Vantage entities to train their employees and human resources staff on the requirements of the ADA.
“Employees have the right to expect that they will not be terminated because of a health setback,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District.
EEOC trial attorney Lloyd van Oostenrijk added, “The ADA protects individuals with actual disabilities, perceived disabilities, or who have a record of a disability. The EEOC remains committed to litigating cases where employers have violated the law.”
For more information about disability discrimination, please visit Disability Discrimination | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov).
The EEOC’s Houston District Office oversees the southern and eastern parts of Texas, as well as the State of Louisiana.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.