EEOC Charged Food Service Giant Discriminated Against Disabled Workers
INDIANAPOLIS – Food service giant AVI Foodsystems, Inc. (AVI) will pay more than $90,000 and offer jobs to discrimination victims to settle a class disability discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged in its suit (Case no. 2:09-cv-00656-JDH-MRA), filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, that AVI violated federal law by failing to allow employees with disabilities to return to work without a full-duty, no-restriction doctor’s release. The EEOC asserted that this policy violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The agency said disabled employees who had been on leave and are able to return to work with some physical restrictions, but are still able to perform their jobs, should be allowed to do so. The policy adversely affected more than 80 AVI employees in several states, including Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
The consent decree settling the suit provides that AVI will offer jobs to discrimination victims named in the decree, make payments to individuals who are not provided jobs, comply with the ADA, and train managers on the provisions of the ADA.
According to company information, Warren, Ohio-based AVI, the largest independently owned and operated food service in the United States, maintains vending and dining services in commercial locations such as factories, universities, and health-care facilities.
“Due to AVI’s cooperation, we were able to find an amicable resolution to this case early in the process,” said Laurie A. Young, regional attorney of the EEOC’s district office in Indianapolis. “Employers should be aware that the most recent amendments to the ADA became effective on January 1 of this year, and those amendments made substantial changes to the ADA as interpreted by the courts.”
Further information about the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 is available on the EEOC’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/ada/amendments_notice.html.
The EEOC enforces federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. The EEOC’s Indianapolis Office is located at 101 W. Ohio Street, Suite 1900, Indianapolis IN 46204-4239. The EEOC’s toll free telephone number is (800) 669-4000. More information about the Commission is available at its web site, www.eeoc.gov.