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Hyattsville consulting firm settles ADA claim with EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission headquarters and Washington Field Office. (Wikimedia Commons / AgnosticPreachersKid / “Woodward_and_Lothrop_Service_Warehouse” / CC BY-SA 3.0

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission headquarters and Washington Field Office. (Wikimedia Commons / AgnosticPreachersKid / “Woodward_and_Lothrop_Service_Warehouse” / CC BY-SA 3.0

A Washington-based management consulting firm will pay $60,000 in settlement of a claim that it violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act when it fired an employee in its Hyattsville office who needed six weeks of after-hours medical treatment for a benign brain tumor.

Optimal Solutions & Technologies Inc.’s settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week resolved a lawsuit the agency filed on behalf of Michael Tyson more than three years ago in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

EEOC alleged Tyson’s firing was based on company management’s belief that Tyson would be unable to do his job based on his medical condition, in violation of the ADA’s prohibition on discrimination based on a perceived or actual disability.

“Employers should make employment decisions based on a worker’s ability to do the job – not based on unsubstantiated fears about his medical condition,” Jamie Williamson, director of EEOC’s Philadelphia district office, said in a statement announcing the settlement.

OST admitted no wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement.

Counsel for OST did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Tyson began working at OST’s Hyattsville location as a senior administrator in June 2016.

Two months later, Tyson told his supervisor about the tumor and that it would require about six weeks of radiation treatment, EEOC stated. Tyson said the treatments would be scheduled after work and would not affect his ability to perform his job, EEOC added in the lawsuit filed in September 2017.

However, on several occasions the supervisor told Tyson’s colleagues he would be unable to perform his job because of his medical condition, EEOC claimed. Tyson received positive feedback from his managers but was fired in September 2016, a month after he disclosed his medical condition and a week before he was scheduled to begin his radiation treatment, the commission added.

In addition to paying $60,000, the settlement requires OST must submit quarterly reports to EEOC for the next two years on any complaints of disability discrimination brought by employees and what actions the company took in response. OST must also provide three hours of training for supervisors human-resources personnel on their responsibilities under the ADA, with a “special emphasis” on the appropriate response to take when one believes a manager or coworker is discriminating based on an actual or perceived disability.

“This resolution compensates the worker for his losses and contains important remedial measures to protect other workers from disability discrimination,” EEOC regional attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement announcing the settlement.

The case was docketed at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt as EEOC v. Optimal Solutions & Technologies Inc., 8:17-cv-02861-PX.

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