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Dillard's Settles Class Action Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for $2M

January 2, 2013

According to a recent U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) press release that Vincent Howard has been following, Dillard's Inc., a countrywide retail chain, has settled a class action disability discrimination lawsuit, brought by the commission for $2 million--after the company was found to have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

The disability discrimination lawsuit accused Dillard's of having a longstanding national practice and policy in place, that required employees to disclose all personal, as well as confidential medical information in order to receive approval for sick leave.

The EEOC originally filed the discrimination lawsuit in 2008 on behalf of California employee Corina Scott, a former Dillard's employee, as well as other employees who were required by the company to disclose the precise nature of their medical conditions, in order to receive sick leave approval since 2005.

The EEOC claims that while the disability discrimination class members had doctors' approval verifications to assure the company that their absences were indeed due to medical reasons, many of the employees felt uncomfortable revealing the details of their conditions to Dillard's--especially when many of their own doctors told them that it was against the law for an employer to ask for specific information about their medical conditions. Scott and other employees who refused to provide the personal details of their medical conditions, were then, according to the EEOC, fired in retaliation.

The lawsuit argued that Dillard's sick leave policy was in violation of the ADA--the act that prohibits employers from asking about the specific details of their employees' disabilities, unless it is necessary for the company's business needs, or unless the disability is job related.

The commission also found that Dillard's enforced a maximum leave policy that limited the amount of sick leave that an employee could take, and failed to regularly work with employees to determine whether more leave was allowed for each individual under the ADA, as disability accommodation.

The consent decree settling the lawsuit requires Dillard's to pay the identified victims $2 million, and the company must establish a class fund for other victims who suffered discrimination at a Dillard's store during the time period of August of 2005 through August of 2009 who have not been identified. Dillard's must also hire a consultant with ADA experience in order to revise company policies, develop effective training for staff and supervisors on the ADA, focusing on sick leave and medical inquiries, and to develop a tracking system for any employees who have complained of disability discrimination.

If you or someone you know have experienced violations of the ADA in cities throughout Orange County, California, contact Vincent Howard and our employment attorneys at Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation about your rights.

Dillard's to Pay $2 Million to Settle Class Action Disability Discrimination Lawsuit by EEOC, EEOC, December 19, 2012

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Facts About the Americans with Disabilities Act

California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC)

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Fair Employment and Housing Act

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