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EEOC alleges Houston energy company fired employee after taking leave to recover from heart attack

By Marian Johns | Feb 9, 2018

HOUSTON (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Houston-based Vantage claiming the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing an employee after he had a heart attack on one of the energy, drilling and management company's drilling rigs.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division on Jan. 26, a Vantage employee working on the company's Titanium Explorer drilling rig, David Poston, suffered a heart attack and required a short-term disability leave. The EEOC alleges that Poston was targeted for job termination during his leave and was then fired immediately when he returned to his job.

"Targeting an employee for an adverse action because he has been forced to take disability leave due to a debilitating medical condition violates the ADA," District Director of the EEOC's Houston District Office Rayford O. Irvin said in a statement. "This sort of illegal treatment deprives such people of the equal opportunities in the workplace that every American should enjoy."

"Vantage's thoughtless actions in this case violate both the letter and the spirit of the ADA, which is intended to increase job opportunities and protections for people with disabilities," EEOC senior trial attorney Connie Gatlin said in a news release. Gatlin is in charge of the case.

The EEOC is seeking back pay with prejudgment interest, compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction to prohibit Vantage from future such actions.

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission