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[IP] EEOC sues Chandler firm over firing of diabetic

EEOC sues Chandler firm over firing of diabetic

Dennis Wagner and Edythe Jensen
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 28, 2003 01:45 PMThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a 
Chandler company that reportedly fired an industrial worker after learning 
that he has diabetes.

The EEOC alleges in a U.S. District Court complaint filed Wednesday that 
 Pimalco Inc. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it terminated
Merritt of Surprise just 10 days after he went to work at the company's plant 
on the San Carlos Reservation near Globe.

Officials at Pimalco and its parent company, Alcoa, could not be reached for 

According to the lawsuit, the 54-year-old Merritt was hired in 2001 to 
 operate heavy equipment. Merritt said he had been an industrial electrician for
years, suffering from diabetes and using an insulin pump during most of that 

"It has always been under control and has never affected my work," he added.

At Pimalco, Merritt said, he did not conceal his disability. However, after 
taking a required physical, he reportedly was told, "No diabetics can run the 

Merritt said he contacted the American Diabetes Association, which put him in 
touch with the EEOC. The lawsuit, filed after conciliation efforts with 
Pimalco failed, seeks back pay and punitive damages on behalf of Merritt.

Merritt said he hopes his case will send a message to employers.

"It screwed up my life for a couple of years," he added. "It's just now 
 getting back on track. I had to work a lot of terrible jobs since then. I had
take jobs that didn't have insurance or didn't pay very well." 
  <A HREF="http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0828eeoc28-ON.html">EEOC sues
Chandler firm over firing of diabetic</A>
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