Verizon Communications has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over claims that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Businesses that employ 15 or more employees must comply with the ADA, which says that companies must provide “reasonable accommodation” to disabled workers or job seekers in order so that they can apply for the job or do the job despite a disability.
The EEOC said in the discrimination lawsuit that Verizon violated the ADA by not providing exceptions to disabled employees when it crafted and enforced its employee attendance policy. The policy added up points against employees whenever they took leave for any reason. If an employee took too much time away from work, they could face a reprimand or be fired. The EEOC said that exceptions for disabled workers taking disability-related leave should be made so that disabled workers are not punished for their disability. The EEOC said that making exceptions for disability-related leave would be a reasonable accommodation.
The lawsuit was filed and settled in a U.S. District Court in Baltimore but it launched a nationwide investigation by the EEOC. According to an article in The Baltimore Sun by Lorraine Mirabella, Verizon did not admit to discriminating against employees by settling the lawsuit, but they are going to work on their attendance policy so that it is compliant with the ADA. The settlement terms still have to be approved by a judge, but it seems so far to be the largest settlement that has come out of a single lawsuit filed against a company by the EEOC.
Verizon to pay $20 million to settle discrimination suit (The Baltimore Sun)