National chain Safelite AutoGlass sued for race, disability discrimination

An Alameda County married couple claim their employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and discriminated and retaliated against them. They filed two lawsuits today against Safelite AutoGlass, which has 550 stores nationwide, with help from Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center. 

Christina Castillo — who worked processing inventory paperwork — alleges she was fired from the chain’s store in Union City for taking leave to treat her epilepsy. Immediately after she filed a disability discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Mauro Castillo, a truck driver for the company and her then-fiancé, contends he began experiencing discrimination at work. Mr. Castillo alleges that supervisors repeatedly called him in to discuss Ms. Castillo’s EEOC charge, and they ignored his reports of graphic and racially derogatory comments by Safelite employees, cut his hours and disciplined him, and finally fired him. Ms. Castillo is African American. Mr. Castillo is Latino and an immigrant.

“It was devastating for both of us to lose our jobs,” says Ms. Castillo. “I believe I was punished for having epilepsy and standing up for myself.”

“Employers have an obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate their employees with disabilities,” says Jinny Kim, a lawyer and program director with LAS-ELC. “Employees should not be punished or terminated for taking medical leave or for filing a charge of discrimination.”

The EEOC in 2014 found cause to believe the company retaliated against both Mr. and Ms. Castillo and discriminated against Christina Castillo under the ADA.

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