American Tool and Mold files Motion to Dismiss Disability Suit

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The Law Firm of Tragos and Sartes, PA, on behalf of American Tool and Mold, a Clearwater-based injection mold maker, asked a federal court on Monday to dismiss charges brought by the EEOC based on allegations of a former temporary employee who claimed that he had been subject to discrimination when ATM did not give him a permanent position.

American Tool and Mold, a Clearwater-based injection mold maker, asked a federal court on Monday to dismiss charges brought by the EEOC based on allegations of a former temporary employee who claimed that he had been subject to discrimination when ATM did not give him a permanent position.

Attorneys for American Tool & Mold, George Tragos and Peter Sartes, of the prominent Tampa Bay-based Law Offices of Tragos & Sartes, P.L. asked the U.S District Court in Tampa to dismiss a claim made by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission on behalf of Michael Matanic, who worked as a process engineer at ATM in December 2009 and January 2010, as wholly without merit.

According to the motion to dismiss (Civil Action No: 8:12-CV-2772 T35 EAJ), Matanic was hired conditionally with the proviso that he undergo a routine medical examination required of all new employees. Mr. Matanic had undergone back surgery six years earlier. Lakeside Medical Center, the clinic hired by ATM to perform the examination, determined that it would be necessary for Mr. Matanic to either get a release from the surgeon who performed the operation or from an orthopedic surgeon or a local physician stating that Mr. Matanic had no permanent restrictions.

In the EEOC complaint, it is alleged that ATM informed Matanic that they would waive the requirement for thirty days and allow him to work temporarily, because he had relocated from Texas to accept the position. He began work in November, 2009 but was informed that he would not be eligible for permanent hire until the required medical releases were received. In December, ATM advised Metanic that he could not continue to work without the release, but that they would give him an additional 30 days. Mr. Matanic’s employment was terminated in January 2010.

The EEOC filed suit on the grounds that ATM discriminated against Mr. Matanic based on a past disability, although Mr. Matanic could and did perform all the essential functions of his position. The lawsuit, EEOC v. American Tool & Mold, (Case No. 8:12-cv-2772), seeks back pay for Matanic, compensatory and punitive damages, changes to the company's medical examination criteria, and other injunctive relief.

The motion to dismiss, filed by the Law Offices of Tragos and Sartes, states that the company is entitled, by law, to require a medical examination, and that there was no discrimination on the basis of perceived disability.

“To establish that his employer regarded him as disabled, an employee must produce evidence demonstrating that the employer entertained some misperception regarding the employee—either that he has a substantially limiting impairment that he does not have, or that the impairment is not so limiting as believed,” according to the motion to dismiss. “Mr. Matanic and the EEOC failed to demonstrate any of their claims; that he is disabled or regarded as disabled, that he was subjected to adverse employment action because of a disability, or that he was treated less favorably than non-disabled employees.”

For more information about the Law Firm of Tragos and Sartes, visit http://www.greeklaw.com

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