Sony is required to pay $85,000 under EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

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Sony Electronics, Inc. is required to pay $85,000 under a consent decree recorded in federal court on December 26, 2014 closing a lawsuit carried by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC accused that Sony infringed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it terminated a woman with a prosthetic leg due to her disability.

The employee had been sent by Staffmark Investment LLC, a staffing agency to inspect Sony TVs on a temporary basis at a facility in Romeoville, III. As per the EEOC, on the second day of her job, a Staffmark employee approach and separated the disabled employee from the worksite, later explaining that there were concerns over she getting stumbled into or knocked down.

Julianne Bowman, the EEOC Acting Chicago District Director who dealt with the investigation said that in spite of the fact that the employee’s removal was done by a Staffmark staff member, it was actually instigated by a request from Sony’s management, which made Sony engaged in the discriminatory act.

The EEOC suit filed against Staffmark and Sony came to an end in a consent decree on June 25, 2013 under which Staffmark was legally obliged to pay $100,000 to the disabled worker.

The consent decree entered in December, ended EEOC’s lawsuit against Sony and gives an extra $85,000 in financial relief to the victim. The decree additionally mandates Sony to report all workers of disability discrimination to the EEOC until 2017. Sony is also required to train its managerial and supervisory staff on laws related to employment discrimination, including ADA. In addition, Sony cannot waive the victims’ rights to file charges of discrimination in government agencies or cease from working with Sony or any of its clients.

According to John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, the ADA gives powerful employee protection, even for short-term temp workers that are hired through various staffing agencies. Smart business owners will learn from Sony’s case that they cannot protect themselves from liabilities when it comes to discrimination by acting through various staffing agencies. This is aphoristic under the civil rights law that we uphold.

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