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Associated Fresh Market to Pay $832,500 to Resolve EEOC Disability Discrimination Allegations

Company  Disadvantaged Class of People With Disabilities in Various Ways, Federal  Agency Found

SALT LAKE CITY - A Salt Lake City-based grocery store chain will pay $832,500  to resolve a group of disability discrimination charges filed with the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced  today. 

The EEOC's investigation revealed that  a qualified individual with a disability and a group of other aggrieved  individuals with medical conditions were denied reasonable accommodations to  perform their jobs. These accommodations include additional leave, working with  restrictions and reassignment. The investigation revealed a practice of  disciplining and/or firing employees because of their need for reasonable  accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

AFM's policies and procedures  revealed a practice of denying reasonable accommodations under the ADA;  requiring employees to have no restrictions or be 100% ready to return to work;  denying leave as a reasonable accommodation; and refusing to provide  reassignment to a vacant position as required by the ADA. AFM's practices  resulted in the termination or resignation of a group of qualified individuals  with disabilities, the EEOC found. 

On July 12,  2018 Associated Fresh Market, Inc. (AFM), owned wholly by Associated Retail  Operations, Inc. (formerly known as Associated Retail Stores) agreed to pay a  total of $75,000 to an employee to resolve his disability discrimination charge. In addition, AFM agreed to pay $757,500 to other aggrieved individuals  identified by the EEOC during the investigation who were also adversely  impacted by AFM's policies and practices due to their medical conditions.

While denying it violated the ADA,  AFM has acknowledged a need to improve in working with applicants and employees  with disabilities. In addition to monetary payments to the discrimination  victims, AFM agreed to make changes to its ADA policies and procedures and to  conduct training for its human resources team as well as for all store  directors, assistant store directors and employees.
  "I  am very pleased with the resolution of this matter without having to go through  the litigation process," said EEOC Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle. "AFM  has worked closely with the EEOC to resolve these allegations and do what is  best for these individuals, their company, applicants and employees."

The EEOC's Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction  for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and part of New Mexico (including  Albuquerque).

  The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by  enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.