EEOC sues Signature Industrial Services after 3 brothers with blood condition fired

By Cory McCord - Digital News Editor
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BEAUMONT, Texas - A lawsuit filed against a Beaumont petrochemical company claims Signature Industrial Services fired three brothers because of their blood disorder.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Drew, Anthony and Raymond West were unlawfully terminated because of a blood disorder that runs in their family.

Drew and Anthony were working at the Exxon/Mobil refinery in Beaumont when SIS took over a contract to perform mechanical services at the plant, according to the lawsuit.

Drew and Anthony were hired on SIS’s payroll around December 2011, the lawsuit says.

The brothers have hemophilia A, a blood disorder that doesn't affect their job performance, but does require expensive medicine for treatment if they suffered an injury that caused them to bleed while on the job, according to the lawsuit.

“When workers have a disability that does not impede them from doing their jobs capably, an employer cannot discriminate against them based on fears that treating them fairly may hurt the company’s bottom line,” said EEOC Houston District Director Rayford O. Irvin.

The lawsuit says the project manager who was responsible for the SIS workers at the plant was told by SIS's president and vice president of operations to fire the West brothers once they learned how the company's insurance costs could spike by having them on the payroll.

The project manager refused to fire the brothers due to their work history, according to the lawsuit. That project manager stopped working at the plant in April 2013.

In January 2013, Raymond started working for SIS at the plant, according to the lawsuit.

The new immediate supervisor was told by upper management at SIS that if he didn't fire the three brothers, that SIS would fire him, according to the lawsuit.

On July 3, 2013, all three brothers were fired. They were told they were fired due to a reduction in force, although no other workers were fired that day, the lawsuit says.

The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the West brothers' terminations were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects qualified individuals with disabilities.

“Enforcement of the ADA is a top priority of this agency. Workers should never be mistreated simply because they have a medical history or condition,” EEOC Houston District Office Regional Attorney Rudy Sustaita said.

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