We have been cautioning employers recently that the EEOC has been targeting “fears, myths and stereotypes” in hiring and firing Now, the EEOC has just announced that it has filed another such suit — against a security company which fired a one-arm guard.
“The ADA requires that people with disabilities be judged on their ability to perform the essential functions of the job — not on stereotypes or appearances (emphasis added).” This from an EEOC attorney upon the filing of a new ADA suit against a Florida security firm for firing an employee with one arm because he failed to wear his prosthetic arm. The employee was hired to drive around a community association in a security vehicle.
Apparently the employee failed to wear his prosthetic arm on his first day at work, which caused the president of the community association to complain that the security firm "was a joke for sending them a one-arm security officer." The company removed him from his position immediately, and when he filed his charge of discrimination the company fired him.
The EEOC contends that the employee did not need his prosthetic arm to perform his job, and that his employer never directed him to wear it. The EEOC attorney further noted that “Customer complaints about an employee’s appearance created by his disability are not a legitimate reason to terminate him."
As we shouted out on January 10th: Employers beware! Do Not Refuse To Hire, and Don’t Fire Qualified Employees Based on Fears, Myths or Stereotypes!