JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a lawsuit Sept. 21 against Gulf Logistics, an oil and gas vessel company, for allegations of firing an employee because of perceptions about his disability.
"It is clearly and plainly unlawful to discharge an employee due to biases about that employee's ability to perform his or her job because of a medical condition," said Keith Hill, field director for the New Orleans office.
According to allegations, Jason Gunderson was a deckhand for Gulf Logistics and suffered from “situational depression.” The company purportedly fired him because of this disability despite never conducting an intensive individualized assessment of Gunderson’s mental impairment.
Federal law mandates that companies conduct this assessment to determine if a person’s disability affects his or her ability to perform essential job functions.
"No employee should be subjected to unlawful stereotyped decisions based on his or her medical health and attempts to seek assistance to cope with difficulties in their lives,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for EEOC's New Orleans and Houston offices.
The EEOC seeks back pay, pecuniary losses and compensatory and punitive damages for Gunderson, as well as injunctive relief to prevent Gulf Logistics from committing discrimination in the future.