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American Security Insurance Company, a for-profit insurance company and subsidiary of Assurant, Inc., violated federal disability discrimination law when it terminated an employee because of her diabetes, the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Donna Stephens worked for the company as a senior processing clerk for almost 23 years. As a result of complications with Type II diabetes, Stephens requested an accommodation – to work from home.  After Stephens’ accommodation request was granted, her supervisor constantly chastised her for teleworking, criticized her performance without basis, and finally fired her.

Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on an employee’s disability. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:19-CV-3411-AT-JKL) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Stephens, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimina­tion.

“After working for the company for more than 20 years and surviving a myriad of health issues, the company rewarded Ms. Stephens’s hard work and loyalty by firing her — simply because she exer­cised her right to a reasonable accommodation,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Antonette Sewell. “The ADA was created to prohibit just this type of discrimination against employees, and the EEOC will keep enforcing it.”

Darrell Graham, director for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, added, “Employees with disabilities continue to face unnecessary and discriminatory obstacles in the workplace. The EEOC is empowered to fight for the rights of people like Donna Stephens and committed to enforcing federal civil rights laws in the workplace.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination

This is a press release from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

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