EEOC and Legal Issues and Discrimination and Lawsuits and Utilities and Law

EEOC alleges discrimination at Midwest ISO

December 23, 2011

A Carmel-based power grid operator violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing a woman who suffered from post-partum depression, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday after trying to reach a settlement with Midwest ISO. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

The lawsuit doesn’t identify the woman, a human resources coordinator who was fired in March 2010 after requesting medical leave to deal with her condition.

The ADA covers any “impairment that substantially limits a major life activity,” EEOC trial attorney Jonathan Byrd said.

“This company could easily have prevented this situation by working toward a reasonable accommodation, which it was legally obliged to do,” Laurie A. Young, regional attorney for the Indianapolis district office, said in a prepared statement.

EEOC said the employee asked to be on leave from Feb. 25 through April 2, 2010. Her depression was affecting her ability to sleep, interact with others and brain function, the lawsuit says. The company denied her request and fired her on March 23.

The agency is seeking an injunction that would prohibit Midwest ISO from firing people with disabilities in the future, plus back pay and compensation for the woman’s medical and job-search expenses.

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