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Major EEOC disability leave settlements


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached several settlements with employers over disability leave policies that allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Among them are:

• New York-based Verizon Communications Inc., which paid $20 million to settle charges in July 2011 for refusing to make exceptions to its “no fault” attendance plans to accommodate employees with disabilities.

• Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears Roebuck & Co., which paid $6.2 million in a September 2009 consent decree on charges it maintained an inflexible workers compensation leave exhaustion policy and terminated employees instead of providing reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.

• Tacoma, Washington-based Interstate Distributor Co., which paid $4.85 million in November 2011 to settle EEOC charges that it automatically terminated workers who needed leave of more than 12 weeks, rather than determining if it would be reasonable accommodation to provide additional leave.

• Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Super Valu Inc. and its American Drug Stores L.L.C. and Jewel Food Stores Inc. units, which paid $3.2 million in a January 2011 settlement of charges that the Jewel-Osco supermarket chain terminated employees with disabilities at the end of medical leaves, rather than bringing them back to work with reasonable accommodations.

• Chicago-based United Airlines Inc., which paid $600,000 in a December 2010 settlement on allegations it refused to allow employees with disabilities to work reduced schedules as a reasonable accommodation.

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