Largest ADA Settlement Ever
A telecommunications chain will pay $20 million and provide significant equitable relief to resolve a nationwide class disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The suit, brought against 24 subsidiaries, claimed the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to make exceptions to its “no fault” attendance plans to accommodate employees with disabilities.
Under the challenged attendance plans, if an employee accumulated a designated number of “chargeable absences,” the employee was placed on a disciplinary step that could lead to more serious disciplinary consequences, including termination. Rather than trying to accommodate employees whose absences were due to their disabilities, the company instead disciplined or terminated them, said the EEOC.
The consent decree settling the suit represents the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history.
In addition to the monetary relief, the company has agreed to revise its attendance plans and ADA policy to include reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, and provide training to employees who administer the attendance plans. The company will also report to the EEOC about any employee complaints of disability discrimination related to the attendance plans, post a notice about the settlement, and appoint a monitor to ensure compliance with its terms.
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