Effex Management Solutions Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination
Kingwood Staffing Company Fired Employee With Cancer, Federal Agency Charges
HOUSTON - Effex Management Solutions, LLC, doing business as Effex, a staffing company headquartered in Kingwood, Texas, violated federal law by firing an employee because of her cancer and because she took leave for chemotherapy and other cancer treatment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on September 26, 2019.
The EEOC's lawsuit charges that an Effex employee, Nina Vasquez, was terminated after being diagnosed with cancer and taking intermittent leave for medical treatment. Vasquez began her employment with Effex as a procurement specialist in June 2016. In January 2017, Vasquez was diagnosed with cancer and required periodic leave for chemotherapy and other medical treatments. On or about May 5, 2017, Effex's president and CEO called Vasquez into a one-on-one meeting where he abruptly fired her. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Vasquez received no verbal or written counseling, warning or disciplinary action related to her job performance prior to her discharge. The EEOC added that Vasquez lost her health insurance coverage as a result of her termination.
The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-03638) against Effex Management Solutions, LLC d/b/a Effex in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, charging that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks an injunction prohibiting such actions in the future, as well as back pay with pre-judgment interest, reinstatement or front pay in lieu thereof, the value of lost benefits, and compensatory damages and punitive damages, in amounts to be determined at trial.
"Terminating an employee because she has a debilitating medical condition like cancer violates federal law as well as common decency," said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the EEOC's Houston District Office. "Joblessness is yet another burden Ms. Vasquez shouldn't have to carry, and the EEOC is proud to stand up for her."
Rudy Sustaita, the EEOC's regional attorney in Houston, explained, "An employee who is dealing with a disease such as cancer and is subjected to unlawful discrimination suffers considerably - especially when, as here, it results in the loss of needed health benefits. The EEOC is here to fight for the right of people like Nina Vasquez."
The EEOC's senior trial attorney in charge of the case, Connie Gatlin, added, "We are insistent on returning Ms. Vasquez to her job so that she will have a fighting chance against all her considerable challenges."