Safelite Group and Former Tech Reach Settlement

Safelite Group and Mathew Howcroft, a former technician trainee with Safelite AutoGlass in Charlotte, N.C., have reached a settlement in a case in which the former employee alleged wrongful termination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Howcroft had filed a complaint against the company in the U.S. District Court of North Carolina, Statesville division, claiming, “the termination of plaintiff from his position was in violation of the public policy in the State of North Carolina, specifically, the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act … which makes discrimination on account of disability of an otherwise qualified individual an unlawful employment practice.” The plaintiff had the three middle fingers on his left hand amputated.

Howcraft claimed he was employed by Safelite AutoGlass from May 6, 2013 to June 6, 2013.

“On or about May 6, 2013, the defendants provided plaintiff with uniforms, aprons and gloves. When the plaintiff received his gloves, he informed Frank Puvak, national trainer for the defendants, that his gloves did not fit because his left three middle fingers were amputated. The plaintiff also informed Brandon Thompson, supervisor for the defendants, who was handing out the equipment to plaintiff and the other technician trainees,” Howcraft’s attorney claimed in court documents.

“Since on or about May 6, 2013 and continuing, the plaintiff has been denied the reasonable accommodation of gloves that fit by the defendants and the defendants have never provided him with gloves that fit due to his disability,” the attorney alleged.

“The plaintiff had his own [Glass] Mechanix gloves to wear, but they were not approved by the defendants as safety gloves and the plaintiff was not allowed to wear them,” the attorney claimed.

Howcraft claimed his supervisors took off points on weekly review cards because he did not wear the gloves provided.

Despite the disability, Howcraft claims he was able to perform all the “essential functions of his job with reasonable accommodations.”

On June 6, 2013, Howcraft claims his supervisors said he “was not a good fit for the job and terminated plaintiff’s employment.”

The attorneys for Safelite Group had denied the company did anything wrong in its dealings with the former technician trainee, based on court filings.

“Defendants admit that plaintiff is missing part of his fingers … Defendants admit that plaintiff told Frank Puvak that the gloves were too big because he was missing part of his fingers. Further answering, defendants admit that plaintiff told Brandon Thompson that he had a hard time feeling things while wearing the gloves because he was missing part of his fingers,” the attorneys claim.

The defendants also “admit that smaller gloves were ordered” but claim they do not know any more than that.

The court was advised the case was settled.

“The parties hereby stipulate to the dismissal of the [case] with prejudice,” according to a court filing. “Each party is to bear its own costs and fees.”

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