CAUTIONARY TALES EPISODE 20 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


EEOC Sues California Grocery Store

for Disability Discrimination

On September 28, 2018 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced it has filed a law suit against Central California grocery store, PAQ, Inc. dba Rancho San Miguel Market for alleged violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The agency contends that in 2016, a deli clerk requested six weeks of medical leave for corrective surgery and recovery, supported by a note from her doctor. Allegedly, PAQ, Inc. denied the clerk’s request and instead fired her. The EEOC is now suing PAQ, Inc. for back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction prohibiting the company’s discriminatory practices.

Melissa Barrios, the EEOC San Francisco Office director noted, “The act of firing an employee who requests accommodation not only negatively affects that employee, but can create a chilling effect across the workforce. Other employees may not request an accommodation, as is their right by law, for fear of losing their jobs.”

Employers must engage in an interactive process in an attempt to reasonably accommodate a disabled worker’s ability to perform her job. However, EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Park stated, “We continue to see employers struggling with complying with the ADA and failing to engage in the interactive process as required under federal law.”

The EEOC is clearly going after employers who discriminate. See, e.g., What’s That Again? Hearing Disabled Applicants Deserve Equal Consideration (September, 2018). As PAQ, Inc. supposedly was, employers faced with accommodation requests are well advised to seek assistance from an employment attorney to conduct an appropriate interactive process, thus minimizing the prospect of government actions and lawsuits.

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For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

October 12, 2018