Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
America’s Thrift Stores of Alabama, Inc. will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC had charged that the company violated federal law by refusing to provide an employee with a reasonable accommodation and subsequently firing her because of her disability, degenerative joint disease. America’s Thrift buys new and used items from local charities and department stores to sell to the public, and operates 17 stores in five states.
According to the EEOC’s suit, the company’s Alabaster, Ala., store discriminated against Jenny Grimes when it failed to provide her with a reasonable accommodation after she informed them of her disability and her need for an accommodation. The EEOC contended that Grimes had maintained a good work record during her three years at the company. When she requested an accommodation to perform some of her job duties as a result of lifting and reaching restrictions, America’s Thrift denied her request. A week after Grimes presented the employer with documentation of her disability, the company fired her, calling her a “liability.” The EEOC contended that Grimes was able to perform the essential functions of her job with an accommodation. The EEOC also contended that the company had a blanket policy of refusing to allow employees with non-work-related injuries to return to work with restrictions. America’s Thrift denied the allegations of the EEOC complaint.
The consent decree settling the suit requires America’s Thrift to pay monetary damages of $50,000. The decree also contains non-monetary provisions. The company is required to train its employees, including its managers and supervisors, regarding an employer’s obligations and the rights of employees under the ADA.