Supermarket Fired Deli Clerk Because of Her Disability, Federal Agency Charged
FRESNO, Calif. - Local grocery outlet PAQ, Inc., doing business as Rancho San Miguel Markets, has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a deli clerk with a disability provided Rancho San Miguel Markets a doctor's note requesting an accommodation. Her request was denied, and she was subsequently fired, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. PAQ, Inc. dba Rancho San Miquel Market, Case No. 1:18-cv-01335-AWI-EPG) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes reinstatement of the employee and injunctive relief intended to prevent further disability discrimination. Accordingly, Rancho San Miguel Markets has agreed to designate an internal ADA coordinator; review and revise its written policies; provide training to all employees regarding the ADA; and maintain a log detailing accommodation requests and complaints. The court approved the decree and will maintain jurisdiction over this case for the decree's two-and-a-half-year duration.
"When assessing accommodation requests, employers need to ensure they are engaging in an effective interactive process," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Fresno in its jurisdiction.
Melissa Barrios, director for the EEOC's Fresno Local Office, said, "We commend Rancho San Miguel Markets for putting in place measures that will have a positive impact on employees. We also encourage other employers to follow the lead of this company and review their policies and practices to make sure they are in compliance with federal law."
According to its website, www.ranchosanmiguelmarkets.com, the company has provided local communities with fresh quality foods. PAQ, Inc. is locally owned and operated with at least 20 stores throughout Central California.
Addressing emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA, is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
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