Company Settles With EEOC Over Leave Policy

Another employer has become caught in the snare of an apparent ADA violation by not allowing an injured employee to return to work.

In this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that RockTenn CP, LLC formerly known as Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, erroneously placed a supervisor on short-term disability leave and then after informing him of its mistake, fired him. The supervisor had been hospitalized with a severe back condition but had a doctor’s note giving him permission to return to work.

“Smurfit-Stone refused to allow Fraley leave as a reasonable accommodation for his disability for the period from around July 29, 2009 [when HR informed him he had been mistakenly been given short-term leave] until he was released to return to work around August 4, 2009. Rather, the company discharged Fraley because he could not return to work because of his disability,” the EEOC said.

To avoid a trial, the South Carolina-based RockTenn agreed to pay $20,000 to settle the EEOC’s suit and provide other appropriate relief.

“This case is a reminder to employers that they must always consider whether their leave policies and practices for granting leave are in alignment with the requirements of the ADA,” the EEOC announcement said.

Read more about the case.

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