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Press Release 08-23-2018

EEOC and Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. Enter into Agreement to Improve Disability Leave Practices

Agency Commends Employer for Collaborative Efforts to Improve Policies and Practices for Accommodation of Employees With Disabilities

DENVER - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., have entered into a settlement agreement to strengthen and improve the company's policies and practices for accommodation of employees with disa­bilities, the federal agency announced today. The settlement resolves nine charges of discrim­ination alleging that the company failed to properly accommodate employees with disabilities.

As part of the agreement, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. will update its policies and pro­cedures to improve accommodations provided to employees returning to work after disability-related absences. The company will also establish a dedicated accommodation and leave manage­ment team to provide assistance to its employees.

The agreement also provides monetary payments totaling $2.25 million to those individ­uals who filed charges of discrimination, and annual financial support to selected "non-profit entities dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities find and keep employment." The agreement was reached as part of the informal conciliation process which is required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to foster early resolution of alleged violations without resorting to litigation.

"This is a strong agreement that will improve policies and practices for individuals with disabilities and sets an example for many employers to follow," said Victoria A. Lipnic, Acting Chair of the EEOC. "I commend Coca-Cola Refreshments USA and the EEOC staff in our Denver and Phoenix offices for bringing this matter to a successful resolution. I especially commend Coca-Cola Refreshments for agree­ing to make the terms of this agreement public."

Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, "The EEOC is committed to ensuring that people receive the full protections of the ADA and other civil rights laws, and we are pleased that Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. was willing to work with us to improve its ADA com­pliance practices. In doing so, we are confident that the company will be rewarded with retaining a dedi­cated and effective work­force."

Brian Sasadu, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., added, "One of our guiding principles as an organization is to treat everyone with respect and fairness and create an inclusive work environment that values the contributions of everyone. We are pleased that we have been able to work collaboratively with the EEOC to strengthen our disability leave policies to reflect best practices from inside and outside our business system."

The EEOC's Denver Office is part of the agency's Phoenix District, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

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.