California Grocer Hit with EEOC Lawsuit for Firing Employee After She Sought Accommodation for a Disability
California grocery outlet, PAQ Inc., violated federal labor laws when it fired a deli clerk after she requested an accommodation for a disability, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said after filing a lawsuit against the company. According to a news report in the Insurance Journal, in October 2016, the deli clerk reportedly provided Rancho San Miguel Market with a doctor’s note requesting six weeks of medical leave for corrective surgery and time for recovery, based on a disability. Not only was her request denied, but she was also fired.
Violation of ADA
The EEOC in its suit alleged that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendment Act of 2008. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back pay along with compensatory and punitive damages for the plaintiff as well as injunctive relief to prevent and address disability discrimination.
The Insurance Journal quotes Melissa Barrios, director for the EEOC’s Fresno local office said the act of firing an employee who requests an accommodation for a medical need “not only affects that employee, but can create a chilling effect across the workforce.” She said other employees might refrain from requesting an accommodation, putting their health and well-being in peril, simply because they might fear losing their jobs.
Disability Discrimination and Your Rights
Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the ADA treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee unfavorably because he or she has a disability. Such discrimination also occurs when an employer treats an employee or applicant less favorably because he or she has a physical or mental impairment. The law also requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability unless doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer.
If you have been discriminated at work because of a disability or because you requested a medical accommodation, you may have a lawsuit against your employer. Contact an experienced California employment attorney who will remain on your side, fight for your rights, help you seek fair compensation for your losses and hold the employer accountable.