The EEOC announced today that it has settled what it called a “historic” class action suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against Interstate Distributor Company for a whopping $4.85 million. The suit alleged that pursuant to the company’s “maximum leave” and “no restrictions” policies, Interstate Distributor denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees and fired them.
The challenged company policies was quite clear, and quite illegal. Under the maximum leave policy, any employee needing more than the maximum 12 weeks of leave was fired – no questions asked and no reasonable accommodations discussed. Under the no restrictions policy, an employee with a medical restriction was refused a return to work and, again, no questions were asked and no reasonable accommodations discussed.
An EEOC attorney stated that "This settlement demonstrates the need for employers to have attendance policies which take into account the need for paid or unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities."
We blogged this week that “company policies are great and desirable,” but that they cannot be discriminatory!