Tool Manufacturer Fired Employee Who Needed Leave for Medical Treatment, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE - Stanley Black & Decker Inc., a global diversified industrial company, will pay $140,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Stanley Black & Decker fired an inside sales representative, who had exceeded her sales goals and quotas, at its Towson, Md., facility in December 2016 for poor attendance. The EEOC charged that the termination violated federal law because the employee had requested unpaid leave for medical appointments and treatment related to her cancer, but the company failed to provide the requested leave as a reasonable accommodation of her disability. Moreover, the company's inside sales attendance policy did not provide exceptions for people who need leave as an accommodation to their disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits workplace discrimination based on disability. The ADA requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities, unless it would pose an undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02525) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $140,000 in monetary relief to the employee, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit provides substantial equitable relief, including enjoining Stanley Black & Decker from denying reasonable accommodations or violating the ADA in the future. The company will update its inside sales attendance policy to provide for reasonable accommodations. Stanley Black & Decker will provide annual training at its Towson facility to inside sales managers, supervisors and human resources personnel on the ADA and its reasonable accommodation requirements. The company will report to the EEOC on how it handled any requests for reasonable accommodations and internal complaints of discrimination within its inside sales group. Stanley Black & Decker will post a notice about the settlement and post notices required by EEOC regulations. It will also provide a positive reference for the employee.
"We encourage employers to review their policies and procedures, including attendance policies, to ensure they provide for reasonable accommodations and equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "In addition to the monetary relief, the settlement provides important equitable relief to protect workers from disability discrimination. We commend Stanley Black & Decker for resolving this matter amicably and before incurring unnecessary litigation expenses."
Addressing emerging and developing areas of law, including inflexible leave policies that discriminate against individuals with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.