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Workers Sue Toyota for Disability Discrimination and Full Severance

July 15, 2010

Several former employees of an auto plant that was shut down recently in California, sued the plant and its parent company, Toyota Motor Corp. yesterday, stating that they were denied access to fair and comprehensive severance agreements, because employment-sustained injuries kept the employees from working prior to the closure.

The New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or Nummi, was established in 1984 as a business venture between Toyota and General Motors, in Freemont, California. The lawsuit claims that Nummi and Toyota Motor Corp., allegedly engaged in discrimination against disabled and injured workers because they were classified as ineligible to receive comprehensive severance packages if they weren't consistently working for the six-month period prior to the close of the factory.

According to the lawsuit, many Toyota car and truck assembly workers, who were laid-off, but worked consistently prior to the plant's closing, received a monetary settlement of around $21,175 each, plus a bonus payment that averaged to around $32,000 depending on the number of years they dedicated to the plant.

These agreements were reportedly not available, or were only partially available to workers on leave for disability from the plant, and unable to work prior to the plant closure. This reportedly constituted a major loss for those disabled workers, some of whom had worked at the plant for 25 years, and had been injured within the final six months. Many funds for retraining and employment services were also not available to these workers.

The lawsuit alleges that Nummi did not make reasonable accommodations to many employees that would have enabled them to return back to work, even with a doctor's permission. According to the San Francisco Gate, attorney Claudio Center stated that Nummi singled out disabled employees for a hardship, and disparate treatment compared to other workers.

The lawsuit seeks class action status, as around 200 of the 4,700 employees who lost their jobs when the factory closed on April 1, could be affected. The disability discrimination suit asks for a revision of the severance agreement, restitution, lost compensation, monetary damages, and other employee benefits, including legal fees.

In cities throughout Southern California, contact Howard Law, PC today.

Former Workers at California Plant Sue Toyota, Factory, The Associated Press, July 14, 2010

Disabled Nummi Workers File for Full Severance, San Francisco Gate, July 15, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH): The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

Facts About the Americans with Disabilities Act