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Being Sued as a Business Owner

Company now faces 13 discrimination suits.

Eight more former employees of Joplin's EaglePicher Technologies have filed lawsuits against the company, all alleging various forms of discrimination as the reason for their July 2016 firings.

The suits come after five other former employees filed similar petitions on Aug. 25. Some of the eight new suits were filed on the same day, while some came earlier this week.

Among the original five lawsuits filed against the company were accusations of racial and gender discrimination. The preceding batch of lawsuits all mention age discrimination. Seven of the most recent eight lawsuits include allegations of disability discrimination, and two former workers say they were discriminated or retaliated against for having filed workers' compensation claims.

Attempts to reach EaglePicher were not successful. The company has not established an attorney in any of the separate suits, all filed in Jasper County Circuit Court, records show. Attorneys representing the employees declined to comment Friday.

Adding to the suits filed by William Kittrell, Daniel Wallace, Roxanne Outt, Kurt Maneval and Elizabeth Singleton are Julie Wilton, Brenda Bromley, Segren Cagle, Melissa Clark, Rita Cure, Janice Hines, Dena Allee and Lettie Hodges.

All of the new suits repeat a claim also present in the first five: “Defendants engage in a broad-based pattern of discrimination in the form of adverse employment decisions” regarding hiring, promotions, discipline, compensation, selection for reductions in force and firing.

The two suits that accuse the company of workers' compensation retaliation say the employees sustained injuries while on the job. The injuries caused them to miss work for treatment or recovery, according to the suits. The suits say the employees experienced discrimination after filing claims for workers' compensation, including one who said she was "berated and screamed at" by a supervisor.

While attempts to confirm have not been successful, it appears the employees who have filed suit were among 135 people whose jobs were cut last summer in what the company called a "workforce reduction."

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