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Circle K to pay $8 million to resolve EEOC charges


Circle K Stores Inc. will pay $8 million to resolve U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission disability, pregnancy and retaliation discrimination charges, the agency said Tuesday.

The EEOC said this resolves multiple discrimination charges filed against the Tempe, Arizona-based chain, and follows an EEOC investigation that determined the company likely denied reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and those with disabilities, subjecting them to actions such as involuntary unpaid leave, retaliation, requiring them to be fully healed before returning to work, or terminations.

The EEOC said these actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Mark Novak, Circle K’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement included in the EEOC’s press release that the agency’s investigation stemmed from discrimination charges filed between 2010 and 2015, when the company “expanded our operations and integrated thousands of stores and tens of thousands of employees.”

“Throughout the past decade, we have made a focused effort on centralizing and strengthening our ADA compliance efforts,” he said.

The EEOC said a class fund is being established that will cover individuals impacted by the alleged violations who worked at Circle K between July 10, 2009, and Sept. 26, 2022.

Among other actions, the company has also agreed to update its policies as needed and appoint a coordinator to provide oversight of pregnancy-related disability policies, requests for reasonable accommodation and records maintenance.