Lawsuit Alleges Woman Was Fired Due to Prosthetic Leg

EEOC says Dorothy Shanks' dismissal is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act

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    Dorothy Shanks has filed a lawsuit against Staffmark Investment and its client, Sony Electronics, alleging she was fired simply because she had a prosthetic leg. Sharon Wright reports. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012)

    Dorothy Shanks may have lost a portion of her leg, but she said she hasn't lost her ability to work.

    In a lawsuit filed this week against a staffing company, Staffmark Investment, and its client, Sony Electronics, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges the Chicago-area woman was fired simply because she has a prosthetic leg.

    Shanks, of Plano, said things went well her first day on the assembly line at the Romeoville facility in October 2010. But her second day brought a surprise.

    "The lady said, 'Dorothy Shanks, would you come with me?' and then she said, 'Bring all your belongings,' and then I said, 'What, I'm not going to be working over here?' and she said, 'No, just come with me," the 60-year-old recalled Wednesday.

    Shanks said the Staffmark employee told her she would be put in a position that allowed her to sit, but federal investigators say she was never put on another job, despite repeated calls asking for work.

    The EEOC says her dismissal is a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    "The only thing I could think of that they would that they discriminate against me because I'm walking with a limp," she said.

    An attorney for Staffmark declined to comment on the lawsuit. A Sony Electronics executive says it lacks merit.

    In the meantime, Shanks has a new job and reports to work next Monday.

    "I lost my leg, true enough, but I didn't lose the willpower that I have to work," she said.