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PRESS RELEASE
1-9-03

EEOC AND SEARS, ROEBUCK AND CO. SETTLE DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION SUIT

GREENSBORO, N.C. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit filed against Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Greensboro for in excess of $125,000 and other relief. The lawsuit (Civil Action No. 1:01-CV-00641) alleged that Sears violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) when it failed to provide a reasonable accommodation to Carl P. Davenport, who is blind. Sears denies that it violated the ADA in any manner.

As part of the settlement, Sears will continue to train all of its supervisors and managers at the Sears Credit facility in Greensboro about the requirements of the ADA and its provisions regarding reasonable accommodations; designate a manager at its Greensboro Credit facility who will be responsible for ADA issues; monitor all applicants who have requested a reasonable accommodation at its Greensboro Credit facility; and continue its good faith efforts to recruit qualified visually impaired applicants.

"This settlement demonstrates that two parties can reach a satisfactory agreement when they commit themselves to exploring means of preventing discrimination in the workplace," said Michael A. Whitlow, Acting Director of the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "We are pleased with the settlement and are encouraged by Sears' commitment to comply with the ADA. Every individual deserves the freedom to compete in the workplace on a level playing field without being subjected to discrimination."

Charges of disability discrimination filed annually with the EEOC nationwide account for about 20% of the federal agency's caseload. EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal sector. Further information about the EEOC is available at our website at www.eeoc.gov.