California Home Depot customers may be interested to learn that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the company in a lawsuit filed on Sept. 28 of failing to accommodate a disabled worker at an Illinois location. The EEOC claimed that the company then fired the employee after she suffered a disability-related emergency.
According to the lawsuit, Home Depot violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing the employee instead of allowing her to take a short break to deal with her condition. The ADA generally prohibits discrimination on the basis of an employee's disability. The Chicago District Director for the EEOC stated that the company failed to provide the employee with the adequate means she needed to attend to her disability. it then fired her for minor infractions that resulted from the company's failure to provide the required reasonable accommodations.
The EEOC reportedly first attempted to reach a settlement through its conciliation process, but no agreement was made. In the lawsuit, the EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the woman in addition to non-monetary measures to ensure that Home Depot corrects its processes in the future.
When a company engages in workplace discrimination, particularly against employees with disabilities, the affected employees could face being paid unfair wages or could have their work performance affected if the company refuses to provide adequate accommodations. If an employee is fired or otherwise punished for his or her disability, an employment rights attorney could help protect the employee's rights by filing a lawsuit against the employer. In the lawsuit, the attorney may demonstrate how the employer failed to accommodate the employee and that the punishments or termination was directly tied to the company's failure to provide the accommodations as required by law.
Source: National Law Review, "EEOC Sues Home Depot For Disability Discrimination", Oct. 3, 2017