Savannah, Georgia (07/24/15) – As per the Savannah Morning News, a disabled employee, represented by labor attorneys for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), was awarded $62,500 because the employer violated their contract with the United Steelworkers Union in regards to the employee.
The employer, Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation, violated the part of their United Steelworkers Union contract section on “bumping.” Bumping gives senior employees protection from layoffs by bumping employees hired after they were. Thus, the worker with more seniority can remove a worker with less seniority from a job assignment and take the job assignment for him or herself.
Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation manufactures roofing materials. The company is headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey. The disabled employee, Irvin Carter, was employed at the company’s Savannah location. In an accident at the Savannah facility, Mr. Carter’s entire right hand was lost in 2003. Rather than hiring a disability lawyer and leaving, Mr. Carter continued to work until 2012, when he was let go in a layoff. Mr. Carter’s ability to bump employees with less seniority than himself had been taken away by the Company, even though, as a member of the United Steelworkers Union, Mr. Carter had that right according to the contract between Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation and the United Steelworkers Union.
The reason Building Materials Manufacturing Corporation violated this section of its contract with the United Steelworkers Union in regards to Mr. Carter, as per the EEOC, was Carter’s disability. Irvin Carter, who had lost his right hand in an accident at the facility nine years earlier, was denied the right to bump employees with less seniority than himself when the company performed a reduction in force in 2012.
The Company based its decision on Mr. Carter’s medical evaluation at the time of the accident, which restricted his lifting to 11 pounds. However, at the time of the layoff, nine years later, Mr. Carter’s lifting ability had increased to 90 pounds. Accordingly, he would have been able to perform jobs that had a 50 pound lifting requirement. Therefore, the Company clearly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
After the EEOC failed to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, employment attorneys for the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on September 19, 2014.
Besides the monetary award of $62,500 for Mr. Carter, the settlement also contained provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting and postings to be undertaken by the employer.