EEOC Suit: O’Reilly Auto Parts Manager Seeks Leave For Medical Treatment, Gets Fired

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Heath Craft, the manager of an O’Reilly auto parts store in Beloit, Wis., learned in February 2011 that he had a seizure disorder, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

On 9 March 2011, Craft notified O’Reilly of his ailment. He asked for a one-month leave of absence for treatment.

Instead of granting his request, O’Reilly fired him on 31 March 2011.

On 27 September 2012, the EEOC sued O’Reilly Automotive Stores, Inc., alleging it violated federal law when it denied Craft medical leave and then fired him.

“All Mr. Craft wanted was a short leave of absence so he could keep on performing successfully,” said John Rowe, director of EEOC’s Chicago district, in a statement. “There was no good reason why O’Reilly denied him that accommodation and then fired him.”

The EEOC is suing o'rielly auto partsDenying an employee a reasonable accommodation and then firing him because of his disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“O’Reilly’s website states: O’Reilly believes in . . . treating our customers and fellow team members in the same way that we would like to be treated,'” Rowe said. “Unfortunately, it appears that the company is not complying with its own principles.” http://corporate.oreillyauto.com/corporate/Ethics.do

The EEOC is seeking lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for Craft. It is also seeking an order barring future discrimination ay O’Reilly Auto Parts and other relief.

The suit, EEOC v. O’Reilly Automotive Stores, Inc. d/b/a O’Reilly Auto Parts (Civil Action No. 3:12-cv-710), was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison. It is assigned to U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb.

EEOC Says It Was Cheaper To Keep Him

Why O’Reilly would make such a decision in this case appears senseless.

“In our view, this is one of those cases in which a reasonable accommodation would have made all the difference,” said EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney John C. Hendrickson.

eeoc“An employer would have kept a loyal and hard-working employee. The employee would have kept a needed job,” Hendrickson said. “That didn’t happen, apparently because of a violation of federal disability law. Our objective here will be to set things right.”

According to its website, O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. was founded in 1957 in Springfield, Mo., where it is still based. It is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories in the U.S. http://corporate.oreillyauto.com/corporate/HomePage.do

O’Reilly auto parts serves both the do-it-yourself and professional service markets. O’Reilly operated 3,859 stores in 39 states as of 30 June 2012.

For further information see the EEOC website at www.eeoc.gov.

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