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Verizon Agrees to $20 Million Settlement in “No Fault” Attendance Policy Lawsuit

Published by on September 14, 2011

In the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history, Verizon Communications agreed to pay $20 million and provide equitable relief to a nationwide class of employees.  More after the break. The EEOC alleged that Verizon failed to provide reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities as required under the Americans with Disabilities […]

In the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history, Verizon Communications agreed to pay $20 million and provide equitable relief to a nationwide class of employees.  More after the break.

The EEOC alleged that Verizon failed to provide reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through its “no fault” attendance policy. The attendance policy placed employees with a certain number of “chargeable absences” in disciplinary action which could result in termination. The company also failed to provide exceptions to the policy for individuals with disabilities whose “chargeable absences” were based on their disabilities. Thus, the EEOC asserted, Verizon terminated employees who needed reasonable accommodations because of their disabilities based on its policy.

This historic settlement demonstrates the need for employers to have flexible leave and attendance policies that provide for reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. Similar to the Verizon settlement, in January 2011, the EEOC staked out its stance against policies of automatic termination at the end of disability-related medical leave in a $3.2 million settlement with Supervalu, Inc., American Drug Stores, LLC, and Jewel Food Stores, Inc. To read our post about this case, click here.

Based on recent large EEOC settlements, in June 2011, the agency held a public hearing regarding leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. To read about the hearing and about the EEOC’s views on leave policies under the ADA, click here.

To read the Verizon EEOC press release, click here.

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