Restrictive Attendance Policy Casualty of Food Concessionaire’s Settlement of ADA Lawsuit

The next time you’re wandering about the food court at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), rest assured the operators of the Dunkin Donuts’ store there have an attendance policy that respects disabled employees’ rights.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today it has settled an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit against OHM Concessions Group LLC-the stores’ operator–for $151,000 stemming from its firing of a regional manager who was seeking additional time off to treat her breast cancer.

The lawsuit alleged that after Joan McMahon O’Donnell was diagnosed with breast cancer and requested unpaid leave for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Dunkin’ Donuts refused to provide a reasonable accommodation and instead abruptly discharged her because of her disability.

With the lawsuit out of the way, OHM can re-direct its energies toward ADA compliance. Under the terms of the agreement, this includes implementing a new attendance policy which includes a provision for requesting reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. The restaurant will provide annual ADA training to all supervisors, managers and human resources employees. OHM will also post a notice about the settlement and will report to EEOC about how it handled any internal complaints of alleged disability discrimination.

“Providing a leave of absence for an employee who needs medical treatment related to a disability is not only the decent thing to do – it is required by federal law unless the employer can show it would pose an undue hardship,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.

I wrote about the lawsuit when it was filed last July.

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