Grocery Giant Fired Cashier at Howell Store Because of Back Impairment, Federal Agency Charged
DETROIT -The Kroger Company of Michigan will pay $33,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the lawsuit, Kroger allowed an employee at its Howell, Mich., store, who was hired as a stock person, to work as a cashier as a reasonable accommodation for her back impairment. However, a few months later, after it learned that her restrictions were permanent, Kroger fired her, EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, EEOC sued Kroger in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. The Kroger Company of Michigan, Case No. 2:14-cv-13757).
In addition to the monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the suit provides for injunctive relief, training on the ADA, and reporting to EEOC.
"Federal law expressly prohibits employers from refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities," explained EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. "An employer must always seriously consider whether it can make an accommodation before downgrading or firing employees," she added.
The Kroger Company of Michigan is a large grocery store chain with stores throughout Michigan.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.