For $100K, Employer Settles ADA Lawsuit Filed by the EEOC Over Its Inflexible Leave Policies

As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sees it, Valley Life, a disability support services company in Arizona, dropped the ball when it came to employees who had used up their paid leave.

The EEOC filed suit against the company alleging it violate the Americans With Disabilities Act because it “had a practice of firing employees with disabilities who needed extended leave or reassignment rather than providing them with reasonable accommodations as required under federal law.”

According to the EEOC, ValleyLife simply terminated people who had exhausted their paid time off and/or any unpaid leave for which they were eligible under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rather than determine if there was a reasonable accommodation that would allow them to continue to work.

ValleyLife also did not engage in any kind of back-and-forth dialogue with the employees to explore whether reasonable accommodations were possible, the EEOC alleged. For example, the agency said ValleyLife could have reassigned the employees to other positions, provided additional leave, or provided other kinds of accommodations such as a shift change or assistance with lifting. The EEOC also alleged that ValleyLife commingled medical records in employee personnel files and failed to keep these medical records confidential.

The company agreed to pay $100,000 to four ex-employees victimized by this practice and “revise its policies to make clear that the company will consider reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities.”

For more on the settlement, click here.


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