Employer Pays $100K to End Suit over Firing Worker with Breast Cancer
March 13, 2017
A commercial real estate company has agreed to pay $100,000 and other relief to resolve allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to let an employee with breast cancer work part-time while she underwent treatment, and fired her instead.
Employee worked for Employer for nine years when she requested medical leave for her breast cancer treatment under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While on FMLA leave, she requested, as a reasonable accommodation, to return to work on a part-time basis while she underwent treatment. Employee also advised Employer that she might need additional unpaid leave after her surgery. Instead of letting Employee work part-time or providing another reasonable accommodation that would have permitted her to remain employed, Employer fired her because of her disability.
In addition to the monetary relief, the 18-month consent decree resolving the suit enjoins the company from violating the ADA, including by refusing to provide reasonable accommodations. Employer is also required to revise and distribute to employees a reasonable accommodations policy, which will identify part-time and modified work schedules, as well as unpaid leave, as examples of accommodations; provide annual ADA training to all managers, supervisors, and HR personnel; inform all newly hired employees about its reasonable accommodation policies and the ADA; report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on how it handles any complaints of disability discrimination; and post a notice regarding the settlement.
“Employers run afoul of the ADA if they don't communicate with an employee with a disability to determine what reasonable accommodation, such as a modified work schedule or unpaid leave ... would keep the individual employed without imposing an undue hardship,” said EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.