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EEOC charges Otis Elevator with not accommodating autistic worker


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Tuesday it is suing Otis Worldwide Corp., which conducts business as Otis Elevator Co., for allegedly not providing a reasonable accommodation to an employee who has autism spectrum and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders.

The company said it is reviewing the lawsuit.

The EEOC said in its statement that soon after an assistant mechanic began work for Otis in April 2021 it became apparent he was unable to effectively process sounds and voices while on a crowded and noisy construction site because of his autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. It said the company did not respond to the mechanic’s several requests for a reasonable accommodation.

The agency said also the company retaliated against him when it placed him on unpaid leave shortly after he requested accommodation, claiming it was because of a foot injury, then refused to allow him to return to work for months despite receiving multiple doctors’ notes confirming he was cleared to return.

The agency is charging Otis with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and is seeking back and front pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

The lawsuit, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Otis Worldwide Corp., was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston.

The company said in a statement, “At Otis we are committed to building a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture where colleagues are valued for who they are, and every voice feels safe, welcomed and heard. We are currently reviewing the filing and are unable to comment further at this time.”