Signature Industrial Services Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination
Signature Industrial Services, LLC (SIS) unlawfully fired three of their labor team, all of whom were brothers, because of a blood disorder that is prevalent in their family’s history, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a recent lawsuit.
According to the suit filed by the EEOC, Drew West and Anthony West had been working at the Exxon/Mobile refinery in Beaumont Texas when SIS took over a contract to perform mechanical services at the plant. Drew and Anthony West was then hired on SIS’s payroll around December 2011. Both of the men suffer from Hemophilia A, a blood disorder that in no way impedes their performing their jobs, but which requires expensive medicine for treatment should they sustain an on-the-job scrape or injury that causes bleeding.
According to the project manager who was responsible for the SIS workers at the plant, SIS’s president and vice president of operations instructed him to fire Drew and Anthony West once they learned how the insurance costs could spike by having the West brothers on the payroll. Because the West brothers had an excellent work history, as evidenced in part by Anthony West earning a promotion and substantial raise during his employment with SIS, the project manager refused to fire them.
Yet a third brother, Raymond, who also has Hemophilia A, began working for SIS at the Beaumont Exxon/Mobile refinery around January 2013. After the plant manager who refused to fire the West brothers stopped working at the plant in April 2013, SIS upper management advised all three of the West brothers’ immediate supervisor that if he didn’t fire the brothers, SIS would fire him. On July 03, 2013, all three of the West brothers were advised by their direct supervisor they were, in fact, being fired, effectively immediately, supposedly due to a reduction in force, although no other workers other than the West brothers were laid off that day.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division (Civil Action No.1:18-cv-00070) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The federal agency is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting Signature Industrial Services (SIS) from engaging in any future disability discrimination. The EEOC is also seeking back pay on behalf of the West brothers, and compensatory and punitive damages and other relief on their behalf, including rightful-place instatement to a suitable position at SIS.
“When workers have a disability that does not impede them from doing their jobs capably, an employer cannot discriminate against them based on fears that treating them fairly may hurt the company’s bottom line,” said EEOC Houston District Director Rayford O. Irvin.
EEOC Houston District Office Regional Attorney Rudy Sustaita added, “Enforcement of the ADA is a top priority of this agency . Workers should never be mistreated simply because they have a medical history or condition.”
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