CAUTIONARY TALES EPISODE 21 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles

CAUTIONARY TALES EPISODE 21

EEOC Signals

Wide Discrimination Protection

for the Emotionally Disabled

Contending employers must walk an extra mile to accommodate emotionally troubled workers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced settlement of its disability discrimination lawsuit against Triton Management Services, LLC (Triton). See also, San Diego Tribune, October 10, 2018.

In March 2016, while out-of-state, Triton’s attorney legislative affairs director, sent “incoherent” texts to Triton, announcing she was quitting and was bipolar. Soon after, the employee’s husband contacted the company claiming she was ill and hospitalized and had not intended to resign. Nevertheless, an ensuing company letter accepted her resignation. Triton then declined to reconsider despite a follow-up doctor’s note confirming the illness.

Contending the employer had failed to consider reasonable accommodation, the EEOC filed suit alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Triton has now settled, agreeing to pay $110,000 for emotional distress and to train its employees and revise its written policies to be ADA-compliant.

Anna Park, regional attorney for the Los Angeles EEOC District Office, commented that “It is important for employers not to let stereotyping dictate how they respond to individuals with physical or mental disabilities in the workplace.” She commended “Triton for resolving this case.”

The EEOC’s press release noted that ADA compliance is a priority issue in its current Strategic Enforcement Plan. This is another reminder that employers need to take seriously their employees’ claimed or observable physical and mental disabilities and to work to accommodate them if possible. It is easier and less costly to get it right than to have a government agency come in and force a company to do so.

See also:

What’s That Again? (October, 2018)

Don’t Flunk the Reasonable Accommodation Test (May, 2018)

Employer Duties to Reasonably Accommodate Worker Disabilities (May, 2015)

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

Helena Kobrin

October 26, 2018

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