MILWAUKEE Orion Energy Systems Inc. of Manitowoc violated federal law by firing an employee because of his disability, a mobility impairment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges in a lawsuit filed on Thursday.
The lawsuit contends that Orion fired Scott Conant after he experienced a disabling condition that substantially limited his ability to walk and required that he use a wheelchair. The EEOC said that Conant’s termination followed his request for accommodations to allow him to enter and exit the Orion workplace, such as an automatic door opener. Orion never installed a door opener while Conant worked there.
The EEOC, according to a news release, brought the suit under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits disability discrimination in employment, after first attempting to reach a prelitigation settlement.
The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and is assigned to U.S. District Chief Judge William C. Griesbach.
“Doors to meaningful employment must remain open for persons with disabilities,” said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District in the release. “Here, the doors were shut in Mr. Conant’s face both literally and figuratively. The EEOC is here to make sure those doors stay open for people wrongly and illegally denied opportunities because of disabilities.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.