OKC Energy Firm faces legal issues over firing of two workers

Two men who were fired from National Oilwell Varco L.P. in Oklahoma City because they had not disclosed previous injuries and medication have won part of their appeal of an Oklahoma City federal court ruling.

The Denver Federal Appeals court has ruled partially in favor of Christopher Dunsworth and Shawn Shelton who filed suit two years ago after they were terminated at Tuboscope, an Oklahoma City division of National Oilwell Varco.  Their termination as contract workers came after they had not disclosed the medicines they were taking when they went to work at the plant.

However, the company’s liability arose when the plant manager texted the two, stating, “Well I don’t think it’s gonna workout guys bc of the physical issues and needing to take pain meds for them. NOV is not a big fan of hiring people with physical disabilities.”

After consulting with the hiring agency, the manager attempt to correct his liable texts, stating, “Just wanted let u guys know the statement I made earlier was totally out of line. I spoke with my boss and was hoping to talk to u guys to see if u just overslept or what’s going on. Want to try an still make this work if u didn’t find something else.”

Dunsworth and Shelton filed suit seeking backpay and punitive damages and claiming Tuboscope had engaged in intentional discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The court ruled the two forfeited the right to recover backpay when they rejected the company’s unconditional offer of reinstatement performing other jobs.

But the court also found that Tuboscope had not made good-faith efforts to educate its workers about the ADA and related policies. So the two fired workers can proceed trying to get punitive damages.

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