Worker Fired Because She Might Have Cancer, Says Federal Agency
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Used car dealers Victory Automotive Group, Inc. and Cappo Management XXIX, Inc. violated federal law the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today when they fired a title clerk at Harrold Ford, one of their Sacramento dealerships shortly after learning she was undergoing testing for cancer.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the joint employers terminated the employee because they regarded her as disabled. After missing several days of work due to a sudden illness, the employee informed her supervisor of her hospitalization and testing for cancer, and her plan to return to work a few days later. Soon after, she received a termination letter which stated that her termination was not performance-related and advised her to “focus on her health.”
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits employers from firing a qualified employee due to an actual or perceived impairment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Cappo Management XXIX, Inc. et. al., 2:20-cv-02245-MCE-KJN) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary damages as well as having the defendants provide training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the work site, and other injunctive relief.
“This employee worked successfully for several months but was terminated when her employer learned she was being tested for cancer,” said EEOC San Francisco Senior Trial Attorney James Baker. “It is illegal for employers to reflexively fire employees after learning of a medical condition.”
William Tamayo, the EEOC’s San Francisco District director, explained, “Congress enacted the ADA to prevent disability discrimination so that employees can continue to be productive members of the workforce.”
Collectively, Victory Automotive Group and Cappo Management employ over 1,900 people at over 40 dealerships around the U.S., including several locations in California.
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.