Individuals with disabilities in Texas and around the country face enormous challenges. Federal law prohibits workplace discrimination based on disability and requires employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate workers with disabilities, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency tasked with holding employers responsible when these laws are violated. A recent case dealing with these issues involved the Ohio-based retailer Macy’s.

The EEOC became involved when a long-term Macy’s worker who suffers from asthma filed a complaint after losing her job. The woman claimed that the retailer chose to fire her rather than allow her to take a day off to address an emergency health issue. The subsequent EEOC lawsuit accused Macy’s of violating the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to make a reasonable accommodation for a worker covered by the landmark 1990 law.

The case was heard by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois after the EEOC’s conciliation process failed to produce a settlement. The court heard how the woman was terminated after eight years of employment for taking a single day to deal with an unexpected and serious medical situation. The court appears to have found this evidence convincing as reports indicate that the retailer has agreed to pay their former employee $75,000 to settle the manner. Macy’s has also agreed to monitor requests for similar accommodations made at its two Chicago locations and report findings to the EEOC.

The EEOC takes workplace discrimination seriously, and employers who violate federal civil rights laws can face severe consequences. Attorneys with experience in this area may remind employers of these realities and encourage them to settle discrimination and harassment cases quickly to avoid negative publicity and protect their reputations.

Source: Insurance Journal, Macy’s to Pay $75K to Settle Federal Disability Discrimination Lawsuit, Staff report, April 24, 2018