The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that America’s Thrift Stores of Alabama, Inc. agreed to pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The EEOC charged that the company violated federal law by refusing to provide an employee with a reasonable accommodation and subsequently firing her because of her disability, degenerative joint disease.
According to the lawsuit, the company’s Alabaster, Alabama, store discriminated against an employee when it failed to provide her with a reasonable accommodation after she informed them of her disability and her need for an accommodation. When the employee requested an accommodation to perform some of her job duties as a result of lifting and reaching restrictions, America’s Thrift allegedly denied her request.
The lawsuit also asserted that a week after the employee documented her disability, the company terminated her employment. The EEOC contended that Grimes was able to perform the essential functions of her job with an accommodation. The EEOC alleged the conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
When an employee notifies an employer of a disability, the employer has a legal obligation under the ADA to offer a reasonable accommodation to that employee if they can otherwise perform the essential functions of the job.