Grocery Giant Fired Cashier at Howell Store Because of Back Impairment, Federal Agency Charges
DETROIT - The Kroger Company of Michigan violated federal law by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability and then firing her, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, 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. However, a few months later, after it found out her restrictions were permanent, Kroger fired her, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The Kroger Company of Michigan, Case No. 2:14-cv-13757) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The EEOC seeks to recover monetary compensation for the fired employee, including back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.
"Federal law expressly prohibits employees from refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to disabled employees," explained EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. "The ADA places an affirmative duty on employers to work with employees to find an accommodation of their restrictions."
The Kroger Company of Michigan is a large grocery store chain with grocery stores throughout Michigan.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.