A Galveston, Texas-based marine services company, will pay $125,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit, federal officials say.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit alleges T&T Subsea LLC fired a commercial diver because he had cancer.
According to the EEOC, after being diagnosed with cancer, the commercial diver continued to work for T&T through his chemotherapy and radiation treatment until he took leave for surgery. When he notified T&T that he was ready to return to full duty, the company fired him.
T&T claimed that commercial diver guidelines disqualified him from employment because he had cancer within the last five years. But the guidelines also require employers to make individualized medical assessments, which, the EEOC alleged, T&T failed to do.
The law also requires that employers engage in an interactive process with employees and individually assess their ability to return to work.
T&T’s alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the EEOC said. The suit (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. T&T Subsea, LLC, Civil Action No. 19-12874) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after the EEOC attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency’s conciliation process.
In addition to the $125,000 in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit requires T&T to remove unlawful disqualification language from its policies and to revise its existing anti-discrimination policy.
T&T must report all adverse actions taken against divers based on their impairments or medical conditions, all complaints of disability discrimination made by divers, and all diver requests for reasonable accommodation.
Further, T&T will provide annual ADA training to its human resources and managerial employees and post a notice that affirms its ADA obligations and states that employees can report violations to the EEOC.
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