BAE Systems Tactical Vehicle Systems of Houston has agreed to settle a disability discrimination suit filed on behalf of a morbidly obese former employee. The EEOC alleged BAE illegally fired Ronald Kratz II, who had earned satisfactory performance ratings before his termination.
The EEOC argued that BAE regarded Kratz as disabled because of his morbid obesity, yet never engaged him in an ADA-mandated interactive discussion to determine if reasonable accommodations would have allowed him to perform his job.
In fact, the lawsuit noted, Kratz had been successfully performing his job despite the lack of any reasonable accommodations.
Under the settlement, Kratz will receive $55,000 and six months of outplacement assistance from the company. BAE must train its managers and HR professionals on equal employment opportunity compliance, disability discrimination law and responsibilities regarding reasonable accommodation to employees and applicants.
Note: Don’t play doctor. Assume that employees who need an accommodation will request one.