01/12/2013 // Dallas, Texas, United States // Clouse Dunn LLP // Keith Clouse // (press release)
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that Dillard’s Inc., a national retail chain, must pay $2 million to settle a class action disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The settlement addresses claims arising from the employer’s national policy and practice of requiring employees to disclose personal and confidential medical information in order to be approved for sick leave. It also addresses allegations stemming from the employer’s termination of a class of employees for taking sick leave beyond the maximum amount of time allowed, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The employees had verification letters from doctors to assure their employer that their absences were due to medical reasons; however, many employees felt uncomfortable disclosing the specifics of their conditions to the company. The EEOC alleged that these employees were fired in retaliation for refusing to provide details of their medical conditions. The court ruled that the employer’s medical disclosure policy was facially discriminatory under the ADA. The EEOC also claimed that Dillard’s enforced a maximum-leave policy that limited the amount of health-related leave an employee could take and that Dillard’s did not regularly work with employees to determine if more leave was allowed under the ADA as a disability accommodation.
All companies should periodically audit their policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with federal discrimination laws. To speak to a Dallas, Texas employment law attorney, contact the Dallas employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn LLP by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling (214) 239-2705.
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