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A packaging firm will pay $1.7 million to conciliate a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission disability discrimination charge, the agency said.
A company official of Lake Forest, Illinois-based Pactiv L.L.C. said in a statement the agreement is consistent with the company’s “inclusive philosophies.”
In a Thursday statement, the EEOC said the agreement stems from an EEOC investigation that found “reasonable cause” to believe Pactiv discriminated against individuals with disabilities through its nationwide policy of issuing attendance points for medical related absences and not allowing leaves as a reasonable accommodation.
In addition to paying the $1.7 million, Pactiv will conduct Americans with Disabilities Act training at each of its locations nationwide, among other provisions of the agreement, the EEOC said in its statement.
“Employers need to get this message: Inflexible, strictly enforced leave policies can violate federal law,” EEOC Chicago district director Julianne Bowman said in a statement. “As an employer, make sure you have exceptions for people with disabilities and assess each situation individually. We are pleased that Pactiv has agreed to change its attendance policies at all its facilities to ensure it provides reason¬able accommodations where required by the ADA.”
In a comment included in the EEOC’s statement, Joseph Sangregorio, Pactiv’s vice president of human resources, said, “Pactiv is proud of its diversity and its record of providing equal employment opportunities to all of its employees and applicants, including those with disabilities. In this instance, rather than litigating, Pactiv was able resolve its differences with EEOC in a manner that is entirely consistent with Pactiv’s inclusive philosophies and its commitment to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.”
Earlier this week, a U.S. District Court judge rejected an effort by auto parts retailer AutoZone Inc. to limit to just three stores a national disability discrimination lawsuit in which the EEOC charged the Memphis, Tennessee-based retailer with allegedly implementing a nationwide attendance policy that failed to accommodate certain disability-related absences.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is charging Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with disability discrimination and harassment for allegedly refusing to set up a chair for an associate suffering from bone cancer.