Defending an Employer Wrongfully Accused of Discrimination
Any accusations of discrimination against an employer are distressing, especially when they are false. Epstein Becker Green has substantial experience defending employers against claims of discrimination.
For example, in July 2018, we successfully defended a California employer wrongfully accused by the plaintiff, a former mailroom employee, of disability discrimination. The plaintiff was given two medical leaves following the amputation of several toes due to a diabetic condition. After his return to work, however, the plaintiff filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), asserting that our client failed to accommodate his work restrictions. The plaintiff was eventually terminated, and he claimed that the firing was due to his disability and/or in retaliation for filing the EEOC charge. The plaintiff sought an arbitration award in excess of $2 million.
Epstein Becker Green argued that our client’s decision to terminate the plaintiff was not motivated by discrimination or by the filing of the EEOC charge but by the plaintiff’s poor work performance and his inability to perform the essential functions of his job, which required substantial standing, walking, and lifting—all of which were prohibited by the restrictions set out by his doctor. Our client proved that it was unable to provide any job that could have accommodated those restrictions. In addition, numerous complaints made by coworkers about the plaintiff—including one that was received after the filing of the EEOC charge but before the plaintiff was terminated—highlighted the plaintiff’s unprofessional conduct and his inability to interact appropriately with his coworkers.
The arbitrator agreed with Epstein Becker Green’s arguments, and our client obtained a complete defense verdict.