A Michigan dairy processor will pay $79,000 in fines to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit involving an employee who was allergic to rubber and plastic gloves. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged Agropur Inc. with violating federal law by failing to provide an employee with a disability a reasonable accommodation.

Eventually the employee was fired.

According to the lawsuit, the employee had severe dyshidrotic eczema, and suffered allergic reactions to rubber and plastic. 

The lawsuit says the employee requested a reasonable accommodation, including the ability to wear a different type of glove on the job.


The EEOC said the company did not provide a reasonable accommodation, and instead forced her to leave work when she had flare ups. 

The EEOC said the company eventually fired her for missing too much time.

The company and the EEOC reached a settlement in district court in April. 

As part of the agreement, Agropur must pay $79,000, as well as injunctive relief, ADA training, and compliance-related reporting to the EEOC. 

“Adhering to an inflexible no-fault attendance policy may violate the ADA,” EEOC trial attorney Nedra Campbell said. 

“Employers should determine whether an employee who needs leave because of a medical condition is entitled to an accommodation under the ADA.”