Pest Control and Landscaping Company Fired and Refused to Rehire Employee After Denying Her Request for Leave as Accommodation, Federal Agency Charged
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Massey Services, Inc., a pest control and landscaping company which operates service centers in seven states, violated federal law when it denied an employee’s request for medical leave, fired her after learning of her medical condition and subsequently failed to rehire her for the vacant position, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Massey denied the request by Annie Mitchell, who worked at Massey’s North Charleston facility, for leave after she became hospitalized due to her disability, and instead discharged her from her position. The EEOC’s suit further alleges that the company actively recruited other candidates for the office manager position and refused to rehire Mitchell, who expressed interest in being rehired into the position, in retaliation for her accommodation request.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Massey Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-00263-RMG-MGB) in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Mitchell, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.
“The ADA affords people with disabilities the right to employment benefits without fear of negative employment actions by their employers,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “It is imperative that employers comprehend and uphold their duty to protect that right, particularly as it pertains to people who are most susceptible to mistreatment.”
Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, added, “Federal law does not allow employers to terminate an employee merely because the employer believes there are medical issues.”
Massey Services operates service centers throughout Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.