Disability discrimination: Is supervisor liable?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled employees from discrimination in the workplace.

11/01/1998


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled employees from discrimination in the workplace. It also requires employers to provide accommodation for "qualified individuals" unless that accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer.

Instrument Repairman Louis Lustig, who Maintenance Foreman Murray Coleman regarded as a "so-so employee," had developed a macro degeneration problem and was categorized as "industrially blind." When Coleman decided to fire Lustig as "no longer able to perform his duties efficiently," the repairman protested on the grounds that his performance was as efficient and competent as the other two members of his group. He claimed to have evidence to prove his contention, and also said it would help if lighting improvements were installed.

"Sorry," Coleman replied. "The decision has already been made."

Lustig accused the foreman of bias under the ADA. Coleman insisted no such bias was involved. "It's my responsibility to run the operation in a way I regard as efficient and productive."

"You've always had a grudge against me," Lustig persisted. He threatened to sue the foreman personally if he didn't rescind the termination.

Question : Assuming discrimination can be proven, is Coleman personally liable?

Talbot's verdict: Plant Engineer Phil Talbot assured Coleman that the ADA does not impose individual liability on supervisors. But he added, "If you insist on firing Lustig, you'd better make damn sure of your facts. I would advise you to check his claim that he has evidence to prove he's as efficient and competent as coworkers in the same job. And double check the lighting situation in his area. Firing a disabled person is justifiable only as a last ditch resort where his poor performance is irremediable, and such as to endanger the operation or cause irreparable harm."





The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me