Inflexible Leave Policy Violated Disabled Employees’ Rights, EEOC Charges in ADA Suit

I think it’s more than clear right now that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes a dim view of employers’ inflexible leave policies that become justification for denying reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities.

Latest case in point: the commission announced Thursday that it has filed an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit against ValleyLife, a Phoenix-area disability services support company that it says “fired employees with disabilities rather than provide them with reasonable accommodations due to its inflexible leave policy.  The policy compelled the termination of employees who had exhausted their paid time off and/or any unpaid leave to which they were eligible under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).”

According to the EEOC, an example of this was  when forced out one supervisor, Glenn Stephens, due to his need for further surgery when his FMLA leave was exhausted.  ValleyLife did not engage in any interactive process to determine whether any accommodations (including additional leave) were possible,  the suit charges.  Stephens had worked for ValleyLife for over ten years at the time of his termination.

The suit also alleges that ValleyLife commingled medical records in employee personnel files and failed to maintain these medical records confidential in violation of the ADA.

Read more about the lawsuit.

 

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