Inflexible Maximum Leave Policy Nets Lawsuit

July 24, 2017

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Connections CSP, Inc., charging the Delaware non-profit that provides health care, housing, and employment opportunities with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by unlawfully denying reasonable accommodations to a class of employees and then firing them under an inflexible maximum-leave policy.

Connections unlawfully enforced a fixed-leave policy that did not provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities when it routinely refused to provide leave beyond the 12 weeks permitted under the FMLA and fired employees when their leave expired, according to the EEOC.

Connections also purportedly denied other forms of reasonable accommodation that would have permitted qualified individuals with disabilities to remain employed, such as reassignment to vacant positions. Instead, the company allegedly placed those employees on FMLA leave and terminated them as well when their leave expired.

"While employers may have leave policies that establish the maximum amount of leave an employer will provide or permit, the ADA requires that the employer modify those policies and grant additional leave as a reasonable accommodation to employees who need it because of a disability, unless the employer can prove that doing so will cause an undue hardship," noted EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added. "Connections CSP repeatedly refused to modify its inflexible maximum leave policy, or provide other reasonable accommodations as required by law, and that's why we filed this suit."

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the District of Delaware.