Federal Agency Charges Bank Fired Branch Manager Because of Her Age, Disability
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Regions Financial Corporation, doing business as Regions Bank, violated federal law by firing a 61-year-old manager because of her age and refusing to provide her with a reasonable accommodation for her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on September 28, 2012.
According to the EEOC's suit, Regions Bank fired the manager of a Memphis branch after she requested a reasonable accommodation for her disability, hyperthyroidism, which caused her debilitating fatigue and heightened anxiety. The EEOC said the branch manager had worked for Regions Bank's predecessor for more than 30 years and had worked for Regions Bank since 2005. The EEOC further alleges that Regions refused her request for reasonable accommodation and failed to engage in the interactive process to accommodate the manager which is required under federal law. Further, the EEOC said, Regions treated younger managers more favorably than the branch manager.
The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 2:12-cv-2855 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Denial of a reasonable accommodation to a disabled individual violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and discriminating on the basis of age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. The lawsuit asks the court to grant permanent injunctions enjoining Regions Bank from further denying reasonable accommodations to disabled individuals and engaging in any further employment practices that discriminate because of age. The EEOC is also asking the court to order Regions Bank to compensate the manager for lost back pay and liquidated damages, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
"Reasonable accommodations allow most people with disabilities to work successfully," said Katharine W. Kores, the EEOC's director for the Memphis District Office. "Employers should understand that ignoring an employee's request for a reasonable accommodation is unlawful. Further, the EEOC takes special interest when age is used to discriminate against more experienced workers. The EEOC is committed to its meeting its responsibilities to enforce the ADA and ADEA to protect the rights of such aggrieved employees."
Regions Bank is a financial banking institution. It is owned by Regions Financial Corporation, which operates about 1,800 banks across 16 states, including Tennessee. Regions Financial Corporation headquarters are in Birmingham, Ala.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.