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Press Release 02-24-2022

TrueBlue and PeopleReady to Pay $125,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination and Retaliation Suit

Staffing Companies Fired Employee With Psychiatric Disability Instead of Providing Reasonable Accommodations, Federal Agency Charged

WASHINGTON – TrueBlue, Inc. and PeopleReady, Inc., labor sourcing companies with offices across the United States, will pay $125,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a federal disability discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the companies fired an employee because of her psychiatric disability. The employee, who worked at the Manassas, Virginia office of TrueBlue’s subsidiary, PeopleReady, was not permitted to return to work after being medically cleared to do so following a hospitalization for her disability. The suit further alleged that the companies terminated the employee because she required future intermittent leave for outpatient medical appointments.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions based on an individual's disability or need for accommodations. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No.1:21-cv-01098) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary administrative conciliation process.

In addition to providing the former employee $125,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides for programmatic relief intended to prevent further disability discrim­ination. The decree requires that the companies implement an ADA reasonable accommo­dation policy to ensure that they will undertake the necessary interactive process to consider requests for medical leave as reasonable accommodations. Under the decree, the companies will also provide training on ADA com­pliance, with an emphasis on reasonable accommodations, and will provide periodic reports to the EEOC.

“Federal law clearly obligates employers to provide reasonable accommodations, including providing medical leave needed because of an employee’s disability, absent undue hardship – and there was no such hardship to the employer in this case,” said Mindy E. Weinstein, director of the EEOC’s Washington Field Office.

Debra Lawrence, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, said, “The ADA protects people with mental health disabilities, and the EEOC is absolutely committed to enforcing that all-important national law.”

The EEOC’s Washington Field Office has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and the Virginia counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Warren; and the independent Virginia cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester.

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.