EEOC, Colorado, construction company, disability discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a Colorado construction company for firing an employee because she had epilepsy. They settled for $42,500. (Photo Credit: designer491/Shutterstock.com)

Colorado Construction Company Reaches Settlement in EEOC Disability Discrimination Case

A Colorado construction company will pay $42,000 to settle a disability discrimination case brought by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Gollnick Construction Inc d/b/a Colorado Excavating, Gollnick Construction, which operates under the name Colorado Excavating, was accused of discriminating against a worker who suffered a seizure on the job. The construction company fired office assistant Dora Marquez four days after her seizure. A September press release by the EEOC said Marquez felt the seizure coming on and informed the office manager before it began. She left the hospital on the same day and had no restrictions. Regardless, Colorado Excavating still fired her because of her disability.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to discuss potential reasonable accommodations with employees with disabilities in an interactive process.

According to the complaint, after Marquez showed up to her next scheduled shift after the incident, the company notified her that her job was being terminated. The document said her termination letter cited her failure to disclose her seizure disorder to her employer upon her hiring.

“Given that you did not disclose your medical condition prior to employment and no other positions are available to accommodate your inability to safely operate a company vehicle, Colorado Excavating is forced to terminate your employment,” the complaint says.

The EEOC’s suit confirms Marquez had a valid Colorado driver’s license and that at the time of her termination, she was capable of performing all of the essential tasks associated with her job.

The EEOC also accused Colorado Excavating of record-keeping and confidentiality violations because the company shredded employment applications and did not keep medical information in separate files. The EEOC tried to settle the dispute through a conciliation, or alternative dispute resolution, process, but when that approach was unsuccessful, filed a suit in federal court in Denver and settled on Tuesday.

The $42,500 Colorado Excavating will pay Marquez covers back pay and compensatory damages. The settlement also includes a consent decree, which requires training for employees, management and human resources personnel that emphasizes disability discrimination and the interactive process through which accommodations should be made. The first training session will focus on epilepsy and include a segment of Epilepsy 101 training by the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado.

The consent decree lasts three years.

The unemployment rate for people with epilepsy is two to three times that of the general public, according to an EEOC statement released Tuesday. People with epilepsy who are employed are more likely to be underemployed and earn less than those without a disability.

Related Story: Goodwill Industries to Pay $65,000 to Settle Disability Discrimination Suit

Latest News

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at newsroom.wf.com. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…