Waterway Gas and Wash Company Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Case

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

Car Wash Discriminated Against Employee With Epilepsy By Firing Him After a Seizure, Federal Agency Charged

DENVER – Waterway Gas and Wash Company, a national provider of car wash services, will pay $70,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Waterway fired Tyson Aoyagi, then a high school student, from its Lone Tree, Colorado location about two weeks after he suffered a seizure at work and requested accommo­dation for his disability. The EEOC contended that Waterway fired Aoyagi because of his disability. The suit also alleged that Waterway refused to discuss his request for accommodation and denied it without explan­ation. The EEOC further alleged that the com­pany fired Aoyagi in retaliation for requesting reasonable accommodation for his epilepsy.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits emp­loyers from making employment decisions based on disability and from retaliating against individuals who request accommodation. The EEOC filed suit against the company in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Waterway Gas & Wash Co., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-02583-RMR.

The consent decree settling the suit requires Waterway to review and update its disability discrimination and reasonable accommodation policies, as well as post an anti-discrimination notice. The company will also provide trainings on the ADA to its managers and human resources staff.

In addition, Waterway must provide reports to the EEOC detailing its compliance with the terms of the decree and its receipt of any complaints of disability discrimination or retaliation. The decree also requires that Waterway pay Aoyagi $70,000. The court will retain authority to enforce the terms of the decree for its 24-month duration.

“The ADA requires employers to engage with employees to determine potential reasonable accommodations for disabilities and to accommodate employees with disabilities who are qualified to do their jobs,” said EEOC trial attorney Michael LeGarde who handled the case for the EEOC’s Phoenix District and Denver Field Offices, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “The ADA’s protections apply to employees regardless of whether their work is entry-level, low-wage, or performed by younger workers.”

Amy Burkholder, the field director of the EEOC’s Denver Field Office, added, “Since the ADA became law in 1992, every single year the EEOC receives hundreds of complaints of disability discrim­ination based on epilepsy. Studies show that those with epilepsy face higher rates of unemployment and underemployment than the general population and that they often have greater difficulty keeping their jobs. The EEOC will continue to vigilantly enforce the ADA to ensure the rights of employees with epilepsy.”

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.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

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