On June 12, 2012, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that a garden center in Davidson, MD, will pay $50,000 and “furnish other relief” to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit for firing employee Richard Starkey because of his hemophilia. EEOC filed the suit (Civil Action No. 8:10-cv-02709-RWT) against Homestead Gardens, the largest enclosed garden center in the Baltimore and Washington, DC, metropolitan areas.
Starkey, who worked as a stocker at Homestead, was told not to return to work after his employer found out he had hemophilia through “casual” conversations with his mother, and the perception of a disability. According to EEOC, such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability or who is perceived to have one. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
“Society’s myths and fears about a perceived disability are often more disabling than any physical limitation that may flow from a physical impairment,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “This settlement achieves the EEOC’s objectives by providing relief to the victim while implementing measures to prevent future discrimination and retaliation.”
Source: EEOC press release dated June 12, 2012