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Fact Sheet on Recent EEOC Litigation-Related Developments
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(Including the ADAAA)

(Last Updated June 18, 2015)

Highlights

  • Since the start of FY 2011, the Commission has filed more than 200 lawsuits involving claims of discrimination based on disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
  • Since the start of FY 2011, through its litigation program, the Commission has recovered approximately $52,000,000 (as well as important injunctive and other "make whole" relief) in cases involving disability discrimination. The Commission secured this relief through jury verdicts, appellate court victories, court-entered consent decrees, and other litigation-related resolutions.
  • Disability-related lawsuits filed since the start of FY 2011 have involved workers in all segments and sectors of the workforce - e.g., in manufacturing, supply, energy, retail, agriculture, farming, service, hospitality, cleaning, facilities management, labor support, logistics, engineering, medical, health and home care, and construction.
  • The Commission filed these lawsuits to seek relief for victims of discrimination with a variety of impairments, including cancer (e.g., breast cancer, basal cell carcinoma, and colon cancer), dwarfism, emphysema, epilepsy, deafness, blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy, Usher's Syndrome, traumatic brain injury, HIV, multiple sclerosis, spinal stenosis, neuropathy, herniated discs and other back impairments, diabetes, anemia, coronary artery disease, end-stage renal disease, PTSD, narcolepsy, depression, anxiety disorder, and dyslexia.
  • The alleged discrimination has included failure to provide reasonable accommodation (including, the failure to provide appropriate leave for disability-related needs or treatment); asking prohibited disability-related questions of applicants and employees; refusing to hire qualified applicants based on myths, fears, or stereotypes concerning certain impairments, and discharging qualified workers on the basis of disability.

EEOC Enforcement-Action Victories in Court

  • EEOC v. Parker Drilling Co., (D. Alaska No. 3:13 CV-00181-SLG filed Sept. 18, 2013) (resolved May 29, 2015). The EEOC's San Francisco District Office sued defendant Parker Drilling Company, an oil drilling company, alleging that the company's withdrawal of an initial job offer to Kevin McDowell because he had no vision in his left eye was in violation of the ADA. McDowell was an experienced oil rig worker who lost eyesight in one eye as a child, but never felt hindered by his lost eyesight during his successful 37-year career working in various oil rig positions. The jury found Parker Drilling liable for disability discrimination under both federal and state law when the company withdrew its initial job offer to hire McDowell, an experienced oil rig worker, because he had no vision in his left eye.

    The jury awarded McDowell $15,000 for emotional pain and distress and the judge ordered $230,619 in back pay.

  • EEOC v. Hill Country Farms, Inc., d/b/a Henry's Turkey's Servs., 899 F. Supp. 2d 827 (S.D. Iowa 2012); 564 Fed. App'x 868 (8th Cir. May 8, 2014). The EEOC's Dallas District Office sued defendant, a Texas-based employer, on behalf of 32 workers with intellectual disability who were subject to discrimination by non-payment of wages, severe verbal and physical harassment, and disparate terms and conditions of employment. The EEOC presented evidence to the jury that Henry's Turkey exploited these workers, whose jobs involved eviscerating turkeys, because their intellectual disabilities made them particularly vulnerable and unaware of the extent to which their legal rights were being denied. Specifically, the EEOC presented evidence that for years the owners and staffers of Henry's Turkey subjected the workers to abusive verbal and physical harassment; restricted their freedom of movement; required them to live in deplorable and sub-standard living conditions; and failed to provide adequate medical care when needed. The Commission won the largest verdict in history of the agency at $240 million (later reduced to conform to statutory caps). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ultimately affirmed the jury's verdict on liability.
  • EEOC v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., (W.D. Ark. No. 2:11-cv-02153-PKH). The EEOC's Memphis District Office sued defendant Old Dominion Freight Line alleging it had discriminated against charging party, a truck driver, because of self-reported alcohol abuse in violation of the ADA and ADAAA. The charging party had worked for the company for five years without incident. In late June 2009, the employee reported to the company that he believed he had an alcohol problem. Under U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, Old Dominion suspended charging party from his driving position and referred him for substance abuse counseling. However, the EEOC maintained that DOT Regulations did not require charging party's suspension because he did not meet the definition of alcohol misuse under DOT Regulations. The EEOC admitted that once the charging party received a clinical diagnosis of alcoholism, then he could not drive until he received the treatment. Also, the charging party did not receive the treatment due to lack of funds. The EEOC argued that conditioning reassignment to non-driving positions on the enrollment in an alcohol treatment program violated the ADA and ADAAA. In addition, the EEOC argued that Old Dominion's policy banning any driver who self-reports alcohol abuse from ever driving again also violates the ADA. In May 2014, the district judge, sua sponte, reversed his prior ruling that defendant's "no-return policy" violated the ADA as a matter of law,[1] and instead denied summary judgment to both parties. On January 16, 2015, the jury returned a verdict for the EEOC and awarded the charging party $119,612 in backpay.
  • EEOC v. Supervalu, Inc., 2014 WL 6791853 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 2, 2014) (No. 1:09-cv-5637), (resolved Jan. 14, 2011). The EEOC's Chicago District Office recovered $400,000 in attorneys' fees and costs after prevailing in a contempt proceeding against defendants, Supervalu, Inc. and Jewel-OSCO, a chain of grocery stores. The district court affirmed a Magistrate Judge's finding that defendants failed to comply with an earlier consent decree's requirement to provide reasonable accommodation to employees seeking to return to work from disability leave. The finding was based on the EEOC's evidence, presented during a three-day hearing, that three employees asked to return to work after disability leave and that defendants refused to allow them to return to work with or without an accommodation. (2014 WL 6791853 at *4). Finding defendants in contempt, the court required defendants to pay fees and costs to the Commission, and the parties later agreed to the amount. The EEOC filed this case on September 2009 alleging that defendants had a policy and practice of terminating employees with disabilities at the end of medical leaves of absence rather than bringing them back to work with reasonable accommodations, in violation of the ADA. In January 2011, the defendants agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle the case and entered into a consent decree which required them to ensure that its employees involved in making accommodation decisions undergo training on the requirements of the ADA and on the types of accommodations that are available to return their employees to the workplace. It also required defendants to create a medical accommodations administration team to facilitate a cooperative process with employees on a disability leave, including a requirement that Supervalu send written return-to-work offers when an employee on leave can be accommodated. In March 2013, defendants were held in contempt for failure to comply with the terms of the consent decree. Then in July 2014, after an evidentiary hearing, the Magistrate Judge further recommended sanctions against defendants for their failure to comply with the consent decree.
  • EEOC v. P.A.M. Transp., Inc.(E.D. Mich. No. 4:09-13851)(resolved 2/26/15). The EEOC's Indianapolis District Office sued defendant, an over-the-road trucking company which delivers goods to companies throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada, and alleged that P.A.M. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by subjecting its entire workforce of truck drivers to overly broad medical inquiries. The lawsuit arose from P.A.M.'s medical clearance policy, which required all drivers to notify the company whenever a driver had any contact with a medical professional, including a routine physical. The EEOC alleged that such conduct violated the ADA which prohibits employers from making medical inquiries of employees, unless the inquiries are job-related and consistent with business necessity. The EEOC further alleged that P.A.M. terminated employees based on the medical information it obtained. In February 2015, a non-appealable judgment was entered against P.A.M. requiring it to pay 12 of its former truck drivers a total amount of $477,399. Previously, in April 2012, the court entered a stipulated order requiring the company to change its medical clearance policy to make medical inquiries of drivers only when they are job-related and consistent with business necessity.
  • EEOC v. Florida Commercial Security Services, 2014 WL 4771887 (S.D. Fla., Sept. 24, 2014) (No. 1:13-cv-20465). The EEOC's Miami District Office sued defendant Florida Commercial Security Services (FCSS) for discriminating against charging party, a security officer who was terminated for failing to wear his prosthetic arm, and then refused to assign him to another position because he filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Defendant hired charging party for a driving position and he was responsible for driving around a community association in a security vehicle. Following his first day of work, however, the President of the community association called defendant and complained that FCSS "was a joke for sending them a one-arm security officer." Although charging party did not need his prosthetic arm to perform his job, and although FCSS never instructed him to wear it, FCSS removed him from the position immediately. Further, once the charging party filed his discrimination charge, FCSS refused to assign him to another position. On October 21, 2014, a jury returned a verdict for the EEOC and awarded charging party $35,922 in monetary damages. The jury found that defendant unlawfully discriminated against charging party based on his limb loss (arm) when it removed him from his position following a customer complaint about his disability.
  • EEOC v. LHC Group, Inc. d/b/a Gulf Coast Homecare, 773 F.3d 688 (5th Cir. 2014) (S.D. Miss., No. 1:11-cv-00355-LG-JMR). The EEOC's Birmingham District Office sued defendant, a home care, hospice, and long-term acute care provider, alleging that it denied charging party a reasonable accommodation and then fired her because of her epilepsy. The EEOC alleged that charging party informed the Gulf Coast Branch Manager that she had a history of one seizure prior to being hired as a field nurse in 2006. Charging party had annual physicals during her employment and disclosed her epilepsy and the medications she was taking to her employer. After performing successfully as a field nurse, charging party was promoted to a team leader position in March 2009. Two months later, she experienced a seizure at work, her first since 2005. She was subsequently seen by her physician, who gave her new medication and released her to return to work. Less than a month after charging party returned to work, defendant fired her, claiming that her seizures made her a "liability" to the company. Charging party's health insurance was also immediately terminated. The district court dismissed the case on summary judgment.

    However, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit reversed the summary judgment in part, finding that there was a genuine issue of material fact about whether the employer was motivated to terminate the employee because of disability. The panel clarified a long-standing intra-circuit split over the prima facie standard of proof under the ADA. While some panels had held that the employee in an ADA case must prove that he or she was replaced by a non-disabled individual or treated less favorably than non-disabled employees, the court held that such proof was not necessary. To establish a nexus, the Fifth Circuit ruled that an employee must show "he was subject to an adverse employment decision on account of his disability." (773 F.3d. at 697). The panel noted that this correction brings the Fifth Circuit in line with "the other circuits [that] have overwhelmingly required plaintiffs to prove their termination was because of their disability rather than provide evidence of disfavored treatment or replacement." (Id. at 696). In this case, the Fifth Circuit held that while driving was an essential function of the field nurse position (on which the court affirms summary judgment), there was a genuine dispute about whether driving was necessary for a team leader position. "[C]ontrary to the written position description, Team Leaders in practice drove far less frequently than did Field Nurses. Statements in [Nursing Director] Guchereau's deposition qualify the driving requirement in the position description: many Team Leader tasks were performed in the branch office." (Id. at 698). The driving duties, the panel held, could have been modified.

  • EEOC v. Grane Healthcare Co., 2 F. Supp. 3d 667 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 6, 2014), (reconsideration denied, July 7, 2014). The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office sued defendant Grane Healthcare, winning partial summary judgment. The district court ruled that "[i]t is undisputed that [Grane] violated the ADA more than 300 times" by subjecting job applicants to unlawful pre-offer medical exams and inquiries. The court then permanently enjoined Grane from conducting medical examinations or disability-related inquiries before extending job offers to applicants. In a second decision, the district court denied the defendant's motion for reconsideration. In this second decision, the district court clarified that even successful job applicants subjected to illegal pre-offer medical exams/inquiries could nevertheless have cognizable ADA claims. Notwithstanding that the defendant ultimately hired these individuals, they nevertheless could have suffered harm (from the illegal pre-offer exams/inquiries) that would warrant a legal remedy such as, punitive damages or injunctive relief.
  • EEOC v. American Tool & Mold, Inc., 21 F. Supp. 3d 1268 (M.D. Fla., April 16, 2014) (No. 8:12-cv-2772). The EEOC's Miami District Office sued defendant for violating the ADA when it failed to hire charging party for a permanent process-engineer position because he was regarded as disabled due to a prior back surgery for two herniated discs. Defendant had a policy requiring medical documentation releasing all employees for work without restrictions, even where the applicant could perform the essential functions of the position. The lawsuit was resolved with a final judgment and a settlement agreement, stating that defendant shall pay the charging party $150,000 in damages and for four years. Additionally, the agreement states that defendant will provide annual ADA training to managers, human resources personnel and supervisors; bi-annual written reports to the EEOC with a list of individuals who filed ADA discrimination complaints; revised job descriptions for each individual subjected to post-offer medical examinations; and a notice posted in the workplace.
  • EEOC v. Walgreen Co., 34 F. Supp. 3d 1049 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 11, 2014) (No. 11-cv-4470). The EEOC's San Francisco District Office sued drugstore giant Walgreens, alleging that it fired former cashier, Josefina Hernandez, who has Type II diabetes, because of her disability after she ate a $1.39 bag of chips during a hypoglycemic attack in order to stabilize her blood sugar level. Hernandez had worked for Walgreens for almost 18 years with no disciplinary record, and Walgreens knew of her disability. Yet, the company security officer testified that he did not understand nor did he seek clarification when Hernandez wrote, "My sugar low. Not have time," in reply to his request for an explanation of why she took the chips before paying. The EEOC alleged that employers like Walgreens must provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship for the employer. Walgreens moved for summary judgment. The district court denied Walgreens' motion, ruling that the company "failed to allege any misconduct that is unrelated to [Hernandez's] disability." At the hearing, Walgreens' own legal counsel acknowledged Hernandez as a long-term valued employee with a very good track record and described her termination as a "harsh result." The parties ultimately resolved the suit via consent decree. Walgreens agreed to pay Hernandez $180,000 and to post its revised policy regarding accommodation of disabled employees on its employee intranet site. The company also agreed to provide anti-discrimination training, make periodic reports to the EEOC, and post a notice regarding the decree for three years.
  • EEOC v. UPS, 2013 WL 140604 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 11, 2013) and 2014 WL 538577 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 11, 2014), (No. 09-cv-05291). The EEOC's Chicago District Office sued defendant, UPS, alleging it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by allowing only 12-month leaves of absence, failing to provide disabled employees with further reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, and firing them if they exceeded those parameters. UPS moved to dismiss the EEOC's complaint, arguing, in part, that the EEOC did not provide enough information about unidentified UPS employees for whom EEOC was seeking relief. The court initially agreed and dismissed the EEOC's complaint but allowed the EEOC to file an amended complaint. The EEOC filed two amended complaints, both of which the court dismissed at UPS's request, finding that the EEOC still had not alleged adequate factual information with respect to the unidentified class members. The EEOC did not identify by name more than two of its class members in any of its complaints. After the EEOC filed a motion to appeal the court's dismissal of its case, the court, on its own, reversed its prior decision and held that the most recent EEOC complaint indeed satisfied the legal requirements under Iqbal and Twombly. (2013 WL 140604, at *6). The court directed UPS to answer or otherwise respond to the EEOC's second amended complaint. UPS then filed a motion to dismiss the EEOC's second amended complaint, arguing that the EEOC's § 12112(b)(6) claim failed because it was not an actionable qualification standard. The court held that the EEOC's §12112(b)(6) claim was not "premised on attendance but rather on UPS's imposition of a 100% healed requirement on those seeking to return to work. Framed as such, the twelve-month policy can be considered a qualification standard--a medical requirement that an individual must meet in order to maintain his or her position with UPS--and not an essential job function." (2014 WL 538577, at * 2). The court further held that, "because such a requirement falls within the definition of a 'qualification standard,' and the EEOC has alleged that the policy applies to qualified individuals with disabilities, the EEOC may proceed on its § 12112(b)(6) claim," and denied UPS's motion to dismiss. (Id.)
  • EEOC v. DynMcDermott Petroleum Operations Co., 537 Fed. App'x 437 (5th Cir. July 26, 2013). The EEOC's Houston District Office sued defendant alleging that it discriminated against an applicant on the basis of his age and because of his wife's disability. Defendant, DynMcDermott (DM), provided maintenance and operations services for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve managed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Charging party, a former planner/scheduler for DM, was recommended for an open planner/scheduler position at DM's facility in Winnie, Texas, by both his former supervisor and the manager in charge of hiring for the position. Despite these recommendations, the facility's director, who had direct supervisory authority over the hiring manager, repeatedly stated that charging party should not be hired because of his age (Swafford then was 56 years old) and because his wife had cancer, which the facility's director assumed would interfere with charging party's ability to perform his job duties. The director's discriminatory statements were made both verbally and in writing in emails to company officials in New Orleans, including his supervisor, the Human Resources Director, the CEO and the company's General Counsel. Subsequently, the manager hired a 35-year-old applicant with no prior experience with the company or its program-specific software. The Commission filed suit under the ADA's "association provision", which prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees because of their association with an individual with a disability. The district court granted summary judgment for the company. However, in a unanimous decision, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded for a trial on the merits. The court of appeals concluded that a reasonable jury could have returned a verdict for the EEOC and found that but for charging party's age and/or disabled wife, DM would have hired him. The parties later resolved the matter via consent decree requiring (among other relief) the company to implement and maintain anti-discrimination practices and conduct appropriate training to its personnel, and to pay charging party $160,000 and provide an apology expressing regret for the comments made by defendant's facilities director and condolences to charging party and his wife for the harm and stress caused by defendant's hiring decision.
  • EEOC v. Western Trading Co., Inc., 291 F.R.D. 615 (D. Colo. 2013). The EEOC's Phoenix District Office sued defendant for failing to provide the charging party with a reasonable accommodation because of his disability. The EEOC alleged that charging party worked for Western Trading less than a week before having a seizure on the job. Charging party was allowed to return to work after providing three separate releases from his doctors, but was then sent home when Western Trading learned of a second seizure during his off-duty hours. The lawsuit alleged that despite additional information from charging party's doctors, he was not permitted to return to work. The EEOC asserted that Western Trading failed to make reasonable accommodations for the charging party's disability and terminated him in violation of the ADA. The EEOC also alleged that Western Trading unlawfully kept charging party's medical records with his other personal information. A federal jury unanimously found that Western Trading terminated the charging party because of his epilepsy. The jury awarded him $24,000 in back pay, $20,000 in compensation for emotional distress, and $65,000 in punitive damages. The case was ultimately resolved in a $102,240 settlement and consent decree, that enjoined defendant from engaging in any employment practice that discriminates on the basis of disability in the future.
  • EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., 707 F.3d 824, 829 (7th Cir. 2013). The EEOC's Chicago District Office sued defendant, a national retailer of automotive parts and accessories, alleging that it discriminated against the charging party on the basis of his disability. At trial, the EEOC presented evidence that the company's managers insisted that Parts Sales Manager, John P. Shepherd III, mop floors at the end of the day, an activity that aggravated Shepherd's back impairment. The assignment caused Shepherd intense pain and ultimately led to serious injury. The EEOC also showed that company officials refused to eliminate the mopping assignment despite repeated requests from Shepherd and his doctor. In June 2011, a federal jury awarded $100,000 in compensatory damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering. The jury also awarded $500,000 in punitive damages for what the trial judge described as "total and knowing disregard for the underlying purpose of the ADA." (The judge later reduced the punitive damages award to $200,000 to comply with a statutory limit on damages, but added $115,000 in lost wages.) In February 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held there was no basis for granting judgment to the company as a matter of law or for ordering a new trial. This was the second appellate victory for the EEOC in this case. An earlier appellate decision, EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., 630 F.3d 635 (7th Cir. 2010), reversed a summary judgment decision and led to the June 2011 trial.
  • EEOC v. Creative Networks, L.L.C., 912 F. Supp. 2d 828 (D. Ariz. 2012). The EEOC's Phoenix District Office sued defendant, a company which provides job training and educational support services to individuals with developmental and other disabilities, alleging that Creative Networks violated the ADA by adhering to a rigid policy of denying deaf and hearing-impaired applicants' requests for required American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting services. The EEOC accused Creative Networks of discriminating against Rochelle Duran, an applicant who is deaf, by denying her request for ASL interpreting services necessary to complete the company's mandatory 24-hour pre-employment orientation and training program. Instead, Creative Networks offered Duran a mere $200 towards the cost of 24 hours of ASL interpreting services, even though the company knew that the actual cost would far exceed this arbitrary limit. Creative Networks admitted it had sufficient resources to afford the interpretation services. When Duran was unable to attend the training due to Creative Networks' refusal to provide her with a reasonable accommodation, the company declined to hire her. The EEOC moved for partial summary judgment, and the district court granted the motion. The district court held as a matter of law that Creative Networks failed to accommodate and failed to hire Duran because of her disability in violation of the ADA. The parties entered into a settlement and consent decree that required defendant to provide $57,500 in damages to the charging party, as well as provide training on the company's obligations under the ADA, provide accommodation to applicants with disabilities, post EEO notices, and eliminate the former $200 limit for sign-language interpreter services.
  • EEOC v. Dillard's Inc., 2012 WL 440887 (S.D. Cal., Feb. 9, 2012). The EEOC's Los Angeles District Office sued defendant, a nationwide chain of department stores, alleging systemic discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it required employees to disclose personal and confidential medical information or face disciplinary action including termination. The EEOC originally filed suit in 2008 to seek relief for Corina Scott, and other Dillard's employees, who were required to disclose the exact nature of their medical conditions to be approved for sick leave. According to the EEOC, Scott - who was absent from work for a mere four days - and others were fired in retaliation for their refusal to provide details of their medical conditions, despite the fact that many of Dillard's doctors advised against disclosure in accordance with the ADA. The EEOC alleged that the company's policy violated the ADA, which prohibits employers from making inquiries into the disabilities of their employees, unless they are job-related and necessary to conduct employer's business. Additionally, the EEOC claimed that Dillard's enforced a maximum-leave policy limiting the amount of health-related leave an employee could take. Dillard's, in practice, did not regularly engage in an interactive process with employees to determine if more leave was required under the ADA as an accommodation of the employee's disability. The district court denied defendant's motions for summary judgment, ruling that Dillard's medical disclosure policy was facially discriminatory under the ADA, and that individuals subjected to the policy were potentially eligible for compensatory and/or punitive damages. The parties entered into a three-year settlement and consent decree requiring Dillard's to pay $2 million to identified victims and establish a class fund for currently unidentified victims suffering similar discrimination during the relevant time period. The consent decree further required that Dillard's hire a consultant with ADA experience to review and revise company policies as appropriate; post documentation related to the settlement; implement effective training for both supervisors and staff on the ADA with an emphasis on medical inquiries and maximum-leave policies; and develop a centralized tracking system for employee complaints involving disability discrimination. Dillard's will submit annual reports to the EEOC verifying compliance with the decree.
  • EEOC v. United Airlines, 693 F.3d 760 (7th Cir. 2012). The EEOC's San Francisco District Office filed suit against defendant based on its investigation of a number of discrimination charges filed by United employees in San Francisco and Chicago. The EEOC's suit charges that United violated the ADA by refusing to place workers with disabilities in vacant positions for which they were qualified and which they needed in order to continue working. United required employees to compete for jobs on the company website - a practice that frequently prevented employees with disabilities from continuing their employment. The district court dismissed the Commission's suit, applying then-existing precedent holding that the ADA does not compel companies to non-competitively reassign qualified disabled employees as a reasonable accommodation. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the lower court's decision and overturned its own precedent, agreeing with the EEOC's argument that "the ADA does indeed mandate that an employer appoint employees with disabilities to vacant positions for which they are qualified, provided that such accommodations would be ordinarily reasonable and would not present an undue hardship to the employer." The Supreme Court later denied United's petition for certiorari. The parties settled the case and entered into a consent decree requiring defendant to pay $1 million and provide other relief, including revising defendant's ADA policy and conduct training to its employees.
  • EEOC v. Service Temps, Inc., d/b/a Smith Personnel Solutions, 679 F.3d 323 (5th Cir. 2012). The EEOC's Dallas District Office sued defendant, a temporary employment agency, when it refused to consider an applicant who was deaf for the position of stock clerk because of her disability. The EEOC had charged that Service Temps refused to hire Jacquelyn Moncada for a stock clerk position, despite her qualifications and experience, upon learning that Moncada is deaf. Through a sign language interpreter, Moncada attempted to explain to the company that she was fully capable of performing the job and that she had several years of stock clerk experience. Nevertheless, the company refused to conduct an interview or consider Moncada for the position. A Service Temps manager explicitly told Moncada that she would not be hired because she could not hear. After a jury verdict for the EEOC, the Court awarded $107,175 in damages (representing back pay and compensatory and punitive damages). The district court also granted the EEOC's motion for an injunction, and ordered the defendant not to discriminate against disabled employees; to post a notice explaining the ADA's protections; to give ADA training to managers; and to notify the EEOC when an employee complains of disability discrimination. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the jury verdict and the lower court's rulings on damages and injunctive relief.
  • EEOC v. Resources for Human Development, 827 F. Supp. 2d 688 (E.D. La. 2011). The EEOC's Houston District Office sued defendant, a residential treatment facility for women with chemical dependency and their children, for firing employee Lisa Harrison because of her severe obesity. Harrison worked for defendant as a Prevention / Intervention Specialist, assisting young children of mothers undergoing treatment for addiction. The EEOC alleged that Harrison was able to perform all of the essential functions of her position. However, defendant perceived her as substantially limited in a number of major life activities, including walking, as a result of her severe obesity. The district court denied both of the defendant's motions for summary judgment and held that severe obesity is an impairment within the meaning of the ADA. The court concluded that severe obesity may qualify as a disability regardless of whether it is caused by a physiological disorder, rejecting defendant's argument to the contrary. The EEOC had offered the expert testimony of a renowned researcher of obesity that Harrison's obesity was the result of a physical disorder or disease, and was not caused by lack of character or willpower. But the court reasoned that "neither the EEOC nor the Fifth Circuit have ever required a disabled party to prove the underlying basis of their impairment." The parties later settled the case and entered into a consent decree requiring defendant to pay $125,000 and provide other relief, including annual training on the ADA to human resources personnel and corporate directors nationwide.
  • EEOC v. Cottonwood Fin. Washington, LLC, 2010 WL 5300555 (E.D. Wash. Dec. 20, 2010). The EEOC's San Francisco District Office sued defendant, a payday lending chain, for refusing to accommodate a manager with bipolar disorder and firing him due to his disability. Sean Reilly was an honor student in high school who attended college in Portland, Oregon, on an academic scholarship. While in college, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When his symptoms forced him to leave school, he returned home to Walla Walla, Washington, and found employment at Cottonwood, d/b/a The Cash Store. Hired as an assistant manager in June 2006, Reilly was swiftly promoted to store manager in October and received an award for the success of his store in November 2006. However, in late January 2007, Reilly, through a health care representative, requested a short leave to adjust to new medication prescribed by his doctor to treat his condition. The EEOC alleged that the company denied this request, forcing Reilly to return to work too soon. The Cash Store fired Reilly in February 2007 - just days after his need for sick leave first arose. Following a four-day bench trial, the district court concluded that The Cash Store had violated the ADA and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) when it fired Reilly because it regarded him as too disabled to work due to his bipolar disorder. The court awarded Reilly $6,500 in back wages and $50,000 for emotional pain and suffering. The court also issued a three-year injunction, requiring defendant to train its managers and human resources personnel on anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws, revise its policy regarding requests for accommodation, send a report to the Commission, and post a notices to employees in various locations.

EEOC Amicus Curiae Victories in Court

  • Mazzeo v. Color Resolutions Int'l, Inc., 746 F.3d 1264 (11th Cir. 2014). (Amicus curiae brief filed March 12, 2012.) Plaintiff Anthony Mazzeo alleged that he was fired from Color Resolutions Int'l, Inc. (CRI) because of his disability (a herniated disc) and age in violation of the ADA and ADEA. In a published decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment on both claims, consistent with the views advanced by the Commission as amicus curiae. On the ADA claim, the court held that Mazzeo had submitted sufficient evidence to establish that he was disabled within the meaning of the amended statute. Specifically, the Eleventh Circuit held that the affidavit from Mazzeo's treating physician, in light of the new standards under the ADAAA, was sufficient to show that his herniated disc substantially limited a major life activity. The affidavit reflected that Mazzeo's physician had treated him for an extended period of time, that Mazzeo had degenerative disc disease and a herniated disc that caused pain to radiate from his spine down to his right leg, and that this condition substantially and permanently limited his ability to walk, bend, sleep, and lift more than ten pounds. The court held that affidavit sufficiently "explained Mr. Mazzeo's medical condition, what specific pain the condition caused, and the limitations on 'major life activities' (as that term is broadly defined by the ADA) resulting from the condition and pain." In its analysis, the court also cited the Commission's regulations explaining the analysis of disability and substantial limitation under the amended ADA.
  • Ellis v. Ethicon, Inc., 529 Fed. App'x 310 (3d Cir. July 9, 2013). (Amicus curiae brief filed Dec. 21, 2012.) The plaintiff Ellis alleged that defendant Ethicon violated the ADA by denying her a reasonable accommodation and terminating her because of her disability (post-concussion syndrome and mild traumatic brain injury). After Ethicon terminated her, she worked in a comparable position at another company, but then left that company and failed to seek further employment. The jury found for Ellis, and the district court ordered Ethicon to reinstate her. Ethicon appealed the jury's verdict and the relief ordered, and had refused to reinstate Ellis. On appeal, the Commission argued as amicus that Ellis's failure to fully mitigate her monetary damages by continuing to seek employment after leaving the second company did not bar the district court from ordering her reinstatement at Ethicon. The EEOC explained that reinstatement is the preferred remedy in discriminatory-discharge cases, and a failure to earn replacement wages after a discriminatory termination is not relevant to whether the victim should be returned to her original job position. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the jury's verdict and the district court's order requiring reinstatement, implicitly endorsing the argument the Commission made as amicus.
  • Lewis v. Humboldt Acquisition Corp. d/b/a Humboldt Manor Nursing Ctr., 681 F.3d 312 (6th Cir. 2012) (en banc). (Amicus curiae brief filed Apr. 20, 2011.) Plaintiff Susan Lewis was working as a registered nurse at Humboldt Manor Nursing Home when she developed a medical condition that affected her lower extremities, making it difficult, and at times impossible, for her to walk. Lewis had to take a month of leave because of her condition. When she returned, she used a wheelchair at work. Shortly thereafter, Humboldt Manor fired Lewis, allegedly because she used profanity, yelled, and criticized her supervisors. Lewis maintained that these reasons were false and the real reason was her use of a wheelchair - a perceived disability. Lewis filed suit under the ADA, and the case proceeded to trialin November 2009. Lewis asked the district court to instruct the jury that she had to prove that her perceived disability was "a motivating factor" in the decision to terminate her employment. The district court instead instructed the jury that Lewis must prove that Humboldt Manor "intentionally discriminated against plaintiff, that is, the fact that plaintiff was a qualified individual with a disability was the sole reason for the defendant's decision to terminate plaintiff." The jury found that plaintiff was "disabled" and a "qualified individual," but concluded that Humboldt Manor had not discriminated against Lewis under the ADA, "as defined by these instructions." On appeal, Lewis challenged the "sole reason" jury instruction as an incorrect interpretation of the ADA. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding it was bound by longstanding circuit precedent. The Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, later agreed with the Commission's amicus brief and held that a plaintiff need not show his or her disability was the "sole" cause of the employer's action in order to establish an ADA violation.
  • Melone v. Paul Evert's RV Country, Inc., 455 Fed. App'x 738 (9th Cir. Oct. 26, 2011). (Amicus curiae brief filed Apr. 4, 2011.) Plaintiff Carmen Melone worked as a commissioned salesperson for Paul Evert's RV Country, Inc., in Laughlin, Nevada. Making a sale required him to walk the five acre sales lot-in and out of RVs-looking for customers. Melone was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent a radical prostatectomy. After his surgery, he was significantly restricted in his ability to walk the sales lot-he walked with pain, resorted to using a golf cart, was fatigued by walking, and often avoided walking altogether. Melone's condition worsened and he went for a further evaluation and learned that he would need additional surgery. He told his supervisor about the scheduled surgery and was fired the next day. Melone filed suit alleging that his employer violated the ADA when it terminated him, and a jury agreed, awarding him $40,000.01 in damages. The district court, however, granted judgment as a matter of law to the defendant, reasoning that Melone failed to provide sufficient evidence that he was substantially limited in the major life activities of standing and walking, in part because he presented no evidence of a limitation in walking at home. Melone appealed. The Commission's amicus brief argued that Melone presented sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude that his ability to walk was "significantly restricted" as compared to that of the "average person in the general population." A jury reasonably could infer that the average person could walk the five-acre sales lot and step into and out of motor homes but that Melone was significantly restricted in his ability to do so, given his testimony that walking caused him pain and fatigue, that he had resorted to using a golf cart to lessen the need for walking, and that he often avoided walking altogether. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with the Commission's argument, reversing the district court and remanding for entry of judgment in favor of the plaintiff.

Major Resolutions

  • EEOC v. Baldwin Supply Co., (D. Minn., No. 0:14-cv-02138 filed June 24, 2014) (resolved Apr. 3, 2015). The EEOC's Chicago District Office sued defendant, Baldwin Supply Company, a Minneapolis-based distributor, alleging it violated the ADA when it fired Timothy E. Collins after he had a heart attack. The EEOC alleged that Baldwin Supply did not allow Collins to return to work despite Collins' doctor releasing him to return to work without restrictions. Defendant was aware of Collins' heart attack and perceived him to be disabled in violation of the ADA. The parties settled the case and entered into a consent decree requiring defendant to pay $50,000 in monetary relief and provide other relief, including ADA training to all employees.
  • EEOC v. Howard University, (D.D.C., No. 1.12-cv-01186 filed July 19, 2012) (resolved Apr. 17, 2015). The EEOC Philadelphia District Office sued Howard University on behalf of charging party, Charles Muse, alleging that defendant failed to hire Muse because of his diabetes in violation of the ADA. Clarence Muse, who has diabetes that resulted in kidney failure, applied and was interviewed for a protective services officer and supervisor position at Howard University Hospital. Upon being asked about his shift preferences, Muse disclosed that he preferred the evening shift because of his dialysis schedule. Despite Muse's 40 years of experience as a police officer and security guard, homicide detective and supervisor, Howard University failed to hire Muse. The parties settled the case and entered into a consent decree requiring Howard University to pay $35,000 in monetary relief and provide other relief, inlcuidng ADA trainigin to managers and other hiring officials.
  • EEOC v. Helmerich & Payne Int'l Drilling Co., (N.D. Okla., No. 4:14-cv-00573-TCK-FHM filed Sept. 24 2014) (resolved Apr. 21, 2015). The EEOC's San Antonio Field Office sued Helmerich & Payne (H&P), a drilling contractor, alleging it forced Francisco Salinas, a derrick hand, off the job because he was taking prescribed medications to treat chronic pain associated with a degenerative disk condition in violation of the ADA. Despite his doctor approving his return to work, the company fired Salinas. The EEOC also alleged that H&P's engaged in unlawful disability-related inquiries and medical exams of employees, and required all employees to disclose prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs to management in violation of the ADA. In addition, H&P's practice of barring employees who took medications H&P deemed capable of impairing job performance from working, regardless of whether the employee taking the medication was actually affected, or whether the employee was cleared to work by his or her doctor, also violated the ADA. The parties settled the case and entered into a consent decree requiring H&P to pay $59,000 in monetary relief and provide other relief, including revising its ADA policies and procedures and providing training to staff.
  • EEOC v. Bond Bros., Inc., (D. Conn. No. 14-CV-00587 filed May 1, 2014) (resolved May 11, 2015). The EEOC's New York District Office sued defendants Bond Brothers, Inc., a construction management and design company and McPhee Electric Ltd., a construction company, alleging that McPhee and Bond unlawfully refused to hire an applicant as a carpenter because of his disability, dyslexia, which substantially limits his ability to read. The applicant had 15 years of experience as a carpenter, had many construction safety training certifications, and had a clean safety record. Yet, McPhee and Bond refused to hire him after learning of his dyslexia on the basis that the applicant would pose a safety risk. The parties settled the case and entered into a consent decree requiring McPhee and Bond to pay $120,000 in monetary relief and provide additional relief, including revising its ADA policies and procedures and providing training to staff.
  • EEOC v. Baker Concrete Construction, Inc,, (S.D. Tex., No. 4:14-cv-02746 filed 9/25/14) (resolved May 11, 2015). The EEOC's Houston District Office sued Baker Concrete for disability discrimination when the company refused to provide charging party, Maria Castillo, with a reasonable accommodation of working at home for a period after she had a bad reaction to chemical dust in the workplace and subsequently terminated her in violation of the ADA. The EEOC alleged that Castillo, a payroll employee of nine-years diagnosed with asthma, was fired by two human resource officials, who told her that she was disabled, could no longer perform her job, and would just become ill again if they gave her permission to work at home for a period because the building was old and she would continue to have breathing problems upon her return. The parties settled the case for and entered into a consent decree requiring Baker Concrete to pay $58,000 in monetary relief and provide additional relief, including ADA training.
  • EEOC v. Verizon Maryland, Inc., et al. (D. Md. No. 1:11-cv-01832-JKB filed July 5, 2011) (resolved on or around July 6, 2011). The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office sued 24 named subsidiaries of Verizon Communications after the company unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees and disciplined and/or fired them pursuant to Verizon's "no fault" attendance plans. The defendant did not allow exceptions to the attendance plans for individuals whose "chargeable absences" were caused by their disabilities. The consent decree settling the suit, in which the defendant agreed to pay $20 million and provide significant equitable relief, represents the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC's history.
  • EEOC v. Interstate Distributor Co.(D. Colo.No. 12-cv-02591-RBJ filed Sept. 28, 2012) (resolved Nov. 8, 2012). The EEOC's Phoenix District Office sued this nationwide trucking firm alleging that it unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees and fired them pursuant to its "maximum leave" policy. According to the EEOC's suit, under the challenged leave policy, if an employee needed more than 12 weeks of leave, Interstate automatically terminated them rather than determining if it would be reasonable to provide additional leave as an accommodation. The EEOC also charged that Interstate violated the ADA by refusing to make exceptions to its "no restrictions" policy. Under this policy, if an employee had restrictions, Interstate refused to allow them to return to work and failed to determine if there were reasonable accommodations that would allow the employee to return to work with restrictions. The parties agreed to resolve the EEOC's lawsuit and seven charges of discrimination filed by individuals with the EEOC. In addition to the $4.85 million in monetary relief, the three-year decree includes injunctions against engaging in any further disability-based discrimination or related retaliation, and requires the company to revise its policies to include reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. Interstate will provide mandatory periodic training on the ADA to employees. The company will also report to the EEOC about all employee complaints of disability discrimination relating to the attendance policy and about Interstate's compliance with the consent decree. Interstate also will appoint an internal consent decree monitor to ensure its compliance with the decree. The settlement applies to all of Interstate's facilities and employees throughout the country.
  • EEOC v. Princeton Healthcare System, (D.N.J. No. 10-4126 filed August 11, 2010) (resolved June 26, 2014). The EEOC's New York District Office sued defendant Princeton HealthCare System (PCHS), which operates an inpatient hospital and several outpatient medical facilities,alleging that PHCS violated the ADA by strictly enforcing a blanket leave policy, which tracked the Family Medical Leave Act and did not provide for leave as a reasonable accommodation. Employees who were ineligible for FMLA coverage or who took twelve weeks of leave were terminated when they requested (additional) leave as an accommodation. Under the consent decree, PHCS will pay $1.35 million to employees who were unlawfully terminated under the challenged policy. The decree also prohibits PHCS from having a blanket policy that limits the amount of leave time an employee covered by the ADA may take. PHCS must instead engage in an interactive process with covered employees, including employees with a disability related to pregnancy, when deciding how much leave is needed. In addition, PHCS can no longer require employees re­turning from disability leave to present a fitness for duty certification stating that they are able to return to work without any restrictions. PHCS also agreed that it will not subject employees to progressive discipline for ADA-related absences, and will provide training on the ADA to its workforce.
  • EEOC v. Dura Automotive Systems(M.D. Tenn. No. 09-cv-0059 filed Sept. 11, 2009) (resolved Aug. 31, 2012). The EEOC's Memphis District Office sued the defendant, a large manufacturer of driver control systems. The EEOC alleged that Dura Automotive conducted illegal medical examinations, made illegal medical inquiries of its employees, used selection criteria to screen out persons with disabilities, failed to maintain the confidentiality of information it obtained from medical examinations it conducted on current employees, and took adverse employment actions against more than 30 employees who tested positive for legally prescribed narcotic medication. The case was settled for $750,000 in a four-year consent decree that also enjoins defendant from engaging in disability-based discrimination.
  • EEOC v. Children's Hospital and Research Center (N.D. Cal. No. 13-cv-5715 filed Dec. 11, 2013) (resolved 2/10/15). The EEOC's San Francisco District Office sued defendant Children's Hospital and Research Center alleging that the charging party was fired after she requested additional medical leave to undergo breast cancer treatment. The charging party underwent a double mastectomy and required more medical leave than the six months the hospital's leave policy provided. The EEOC alleged that during a meeting to discuss her request for extended leave, managers improperly chose to rely on their own assessment that she looked "fragile" and unlikely to return to work, despite her doctor's note stating that the charging party could resume work in September 2012. To resolve the case, the defendant agreed to pay $300,000 in damages and entered into a three year consent decree requiring it to revise its online employee training modules, revise its policy regarding disabilities and reasonable accommodations, conduct in person training for its managers, and make periodic reports to the EEOC.
  • EEOC v. Comprehensive Behavioral Health Ctr. of St. Clair County, Inc. (CBHC) (S.D. Ill. No. 3:12-cv-01031-JPG-SCW filed Sept. 26, 2012) (resolved Dec. 30, 2014). The EEOC's St. Louis District Office sued defendant, CBHC, alleging that it violated the ADA when defendant refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to charging party, Pamela Perry, and then retaliated against her by refusing to rehire her after she was laid off. The EEOC stated that Perry requested permission to wear athletic shoes to work in June 2002 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disability which caused numbness, pain and tingling in her feet. CBHC allowed Perry to wear athletic shoes for a few years, but later disciplined her for wearing the shoes. When Perry's symptoms worsened, she requested additional reasonable accommodations, which CBHC denied. Two days after Perry wrote a letter to CBHC complaining about its refusal to accommodate her, she was laid off. The EEOC also alleged that CBHC then retaliated against Perry by refusing to hire her when she applied for a vacant position she had performed for a majority of her 23 years of employment. To resolve the case, CBHC agreed to pay $309,000 in damages and entered into a three year consent decree requiring it to adopt, post, and disseminate anti-discrimination policies, training management employees on the ADA as well as other reporting requirements.
  • EEOC v. Benny Boyd Chevrolet (N.D. Tex. No. 5:13-cv-00220-C filed Sept. 26, 2013) (resolved 2/11/15). The EEOC's Dallas District Office sued defendant alleging that the automobile dealership violated the ADA when it denied a partnership to the charging party because of his multiple sclerosis and subjected him to a hostile work environment which ultimately resulted in his constructive discharge. To resolve the case, defendant agreed to pay $250,000 in damages and entered into a three year consent decree requiring it to conduct annual training to all their managers on the ADA and to modify their anti-discrimination policies as well as other reporting requirements.
  • EEOC v. St. Alexius Medical Center(N.D. Ill. No. 1:12-cv-7646 filed Sept. 25, 2012) (resolved 2/17/15). The EEOC's Chicago District Office sued defendant alleging that the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide a disabled employee, who worked as a greeter, with reasonable accommodations which would have allowed her to do her job and by terminating the employee instead. The charging party suffered from cognitive disabilities. The EEOC alleged that defendant failed to provide her a reasonable accommodation such as written job instructions which would have allowed her to do her job. To resolve the case, defendant agreed to pay $125,000 in damages and entered into a two year consent decree requiring the hospital to provide training to its managers and other employees about the ADA, implement policies against disability discrimination, as well as other reporting requirements.
  • EEOC v. Kmart Corp.(D. Md. No. 8:13-cv-02576 filed Sept. 5, 2013) (resolved 1/22/15). The Philadelphia District Office sued defendant alleging that it denied the charging party, Lorenzo Cook, a reasonable accommodation and refused to hire him in violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). The EEOC alleged that after Kmart offered Cook a job, he advised the hiring manager that he could not provide a urine sample for the company's mandatory pre-employment drug screening due to his kidney disease and dialysis. Cook requested a reasonable accommodation such as a blood test, hair test, or other drug test that did not require a urine sample. The EEOC further alleged that Kmart refused to provide that alternative test and denied Cook employment because of his disability. To resolve the case, defendant agreed to pay $102,048 in damages and entered into a two year consent decree requiring it to revise its drug testing policies and forms to specify the availability of reasonable accommodation for applicants or employees in the company's drug testing processes, provide training for all managers, and human resources leads on the ADA as well as other record keeping requirements.

Cases Involving Pregnancy and Accommodations

  • EEOC v. Step Three, Ltd. (D. Haw. No. 1:13-cv-00674 filed Dec. 9, 2013) (resolved Dec. 13, 2013). The EEOC's Los Angeles District Office sued defendant, Step Three, under the ADA and Title VII to seek relief for a female retail buyer who worked for the company in Honolulu. The employee informed the defendant that she had begun treatments for infertility. According to the Commission's suit, a company official responded with offensive comments regarding her disability. The EEOC alleged that later that year, when the employee revealed that she was pregnant and had related travel restrictions, the defendant fired her. Step Three agreed to a two-year consent decree to resolve the suit. The decree included $60,000 in monetary relief, as well provisions requiring it to: hire a consultant to ensure compliance with Title VII and the ADA; revise its anti-discrimination policies and procedures; and provide annual training for staff.
  • EEOC v. Engineering Documentation Sys., Inc.(D. Nev. No. 3:11-cv-00707-HDM-VPC filed Sept. 30, 2011) (resolved Apr. 17, 2013). The EEOC's Los Angeles District Office sued defendant, Engineering Documentation Systems (EDSI), under the ADA and Title VII to seek relief for a technical assistant who became pregnant while working at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Northern Nevada. The EEOC alleged that when a management official learned about the assistant's pregnancy, he made derogatory remarks and denied her request to have her office moved closer to the bathroom to accommodate her severe nausea and vomiting. The EEOC also contended that while the charging party was on medical leave, the defendant changed her job description, requiring that she be certified to carry live ammunition and explosives. According to the EEOC, the company failed to accommodate her and subsequently terminated her. Additionally, her husband, who was employed by EDSI as a lead engineering technician, was demoted and eventually terminated after complaining about his wife's treatment and participating in the EEOC's investigation of his wife's charge. The defendant agreed to pay $70,000 to settle the suit. The company also entered into a four-year consent decree requiring it to hire an equal employment opportunity (EEO) consultant to create and implement anti-discrimination policies and complaint procedures, a centralized tracking system for discrimination complaints, and live, annual EEO training for all management and human resources personnel.

Other Significant Filings

  • EEOC v. McLane Foodservice, Inc., (W.D. Tenn., No. 2:15-cv-02261 filed Apr. 21, 2015). The EEOC's Memphis District Office sued defendant McLane Foodservice, Inc., which supplies foodservice deliveries to fast-food chain restaurants, alleging it discriminated against an employee it believed to be disabled in violation of the ADA. The EEOC alleges that McLane refused to hire an applicant because it regarded him as disabled and because the applicant had a record of a disability.
  • EEOC v. Liberty Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge LLC (D . Nev., 3.15-CV-00232HDM-VPC filed Apr. 28, 2015). The EEOC's San Francisco Office sued defendant Liberty Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge LLC, a Nevada-based car dealership, alleging that it fired charging party, Shara Rynearsonan, after she disclosed that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, in violation of the ADA. The EEOC alleged that Liberty Chrysler failed to reasonably accommodate Rynearsonan when it did not allow her to take medical leave for her diagnosis and treatment.
  • EEOC v. OK Concrete Co. (N.D. Tex. No. 7:15-CV-0083-O filed May 12, 2015). The EEOC's Dallas District Office sued defendant OK Concrete, a mixed concrete company, alleging that it discriminated against charging party Joey Snyder because of his disability, prostate cancer, in violation of the ADA. Joey Snyder was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2012 and was hired by defendant as a mixer driver in March 2012. After successfully completing his training, he notified a member of management that he would need a few days off after his health benefits became active to receive cancer treatment. Later the same day, Snyder was fired.
  • EEOC v. All Star Personnel, Inc. & Sims Recycling Solutions, Inc. (M.D. Tenn., No. 3:15-cv-00136 filed Feb. 13, 2015). The EEOC's Memphis District Office sued defendant, an international electronics recycling company and a local staffing agency, alleging it refused to assign an employee because of her hearing impairment in violation of the ADA. The EEOC's suit contends that All-Star assigned the employee to work at a Sims recycling facility in LaVergne, Tenn. According to the complaint, when Sims learned the employee had a hearing impairment, Sims and All-Star told the employee she could not work there.
  • EEOC v. Dollar General (E.D. Tenn. No. 3:14-cv-00441 filed Sept. 23, 2014). The EEOC's Memphis District Office sued defendant, Dollar General, alleging it violated the ADA by failing to accommodate and firing an employee who was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes. According to the EEOC's suit, the employee was working at a cash register when she started to experience symptoms of a hypoglycemic episode. Customers were in line, so the former employee took an orange juice from Dollar General's cooler and consumed it to stabilize her blood sugar. She paid for the orange juice after the customers left. The former employee told her supervisor on several occasions that she had diabetes, and she requested that the store allow her to keep her own juice near the cash register, but the store denied those requests. The EEOC alleges that Dollar General fired the employee for violating its "grazing" policy, which prohibits employees from consuming merchandise before payment. The suit is pending.
  • EEOC v. Orion Energy Sys.(E.D. Wis. No. 14-cv-00619 filed Aug. 20, 2014). The EEOC's Chicago District Office filed suit against defendant, Manitowoc, Wisconsin-based Orion Energy Systems, alleging the company violated the ADA in the way it applied their "wellness program." The EEOC alleges that when employee Wendy Schobert declined to participate in the program, Orion shifted responsibility for payment of the entire premium for her employee health benefits from Orion to Schobert. Shortly thereafter, Orion fired Schobert. The EEOC maintains that Orion's wellness program violated the ADA as it was applied to Schobert, and that Orion retaliated against Schobert because of her good-faith objections to the program. The EEOC further asserts that Orion interfered with Schobert's exercise of her federally-protected ADA right to not be subjected to unlawful medical exams and disability-related inquiries. The suit is pending.
  • EEOC v. Flambeau, Inc.(W.D. Wis. No. 3:14-cv-00638 filed Sept. 30, 2014). The EEOC's Chicago District Office sued defendant, a plastic manufacturing company, alleging that it violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring an employee to submit to medical testing and assessment in connection with a "wellness program" or face dire consequences. The EEOC alleged that the "wellness program" required employees to submit to biometric testing and a "health risk assessment," or face cancellation of medical insurance, unspecified "disciplinary action" for failing to attend the scheduled testing, and a requirement to pay the full premium in order to stay covered. When charging party did not complete the biometric testing and health risk assessment, Flambeau cancelled his medical insurance and shifted responsibility for payment of the entire premium cost to him. The EEOC said employees who had taken the biometric testing and health risk assessment, by comparison, did not have their coverage cancelled involuntarily, and were only required to pay 25% of their premium cost. The EEOC contends that the biometric testing and health risk assessment constituted "disability-related inquiries and medical examinations" that were not job-related and consistent with business necessity as defined by the ADA.

ADAAA in Action


The ADAAA protects people with a much broader range of disabilities than the ADA did previously. The EEOC has been at the forefront of expanding protection through its litigation for people with disabilities including but not limited to: intellectual disabilities, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, depression, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, cancer, HIV, diabetes, renal failure, and associations with individuals with a disability. Below are some representative selected filings and resolutions involving particular impairments:

Intellectual Disabilities

Learning Disabilities

Psychiatric Disabilities

Epilepsy

Cancer

HIV

Diabetes

Renal Failure

APPENDIX
ADA Press Releases (since October 1, 2010)

(http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/index.cfm)

Resolutions

Filings

Other


[1] See EEOC v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., 2013 WL 3230670 (W.D. Ark., June 26, 2013)(holding defendant's "no-return policy" violated the ADA as a matter of law and amounted to a denial of reasonable accommodation to the charging party).