A company that sells new and used items in thrift stores in several states in the Southern United States has agreed to settle a disability bias lawsuit with a former employee who says that she was fired after asking for reasonable accommodations for her degenerative joint disease.
The woman says that she had worked for America's Thrift stores at an Alabama location for three years. During that time, she says that she always maintained a good work record. However, due to her medical condition, her doctor said that she should abide by specified lifting and reaching conditions. The woman went to the company and asked for accommodations consistent with her doctor's recommendations.
Despite her good work record, the company reportedly responded by terminating her employment. About a week before she was fired, she says that she gave her employer documentation from her doctor showing that her degenerative joint condition was legitimate and that her doctor recommended the lifting and reach limitations. The thrift store reportedly refused to provide the worker with accommodations, and went so far as to say that the employer considered the woman's disability as a liability for the company, according to the employment discrimination lawsuit.
The woman sought recourse for the wrongful termination under the federal ADA. The company reportedly settled the lawsuit for a five figure sum and other relief.
Generally, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide workers with disabilities with reasonable accommodations to assist the workers in discharging the duties of the job. The federal anti-discrimination law only allows the company to avoid providing a reasonable accommodation if the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. The standard for what would be an undue hardship is essentially dependent upon the individual facts. A Florida handicap and disability lawyer can assist aggrieved workers in analyzing a specific situation.
Source: EEOC, "America's Thrift Stores Pays $50,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit," Jan. 28, 2013