CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced a lawsuit against American Blue
Ribbons Holding LLC, doing business as Legendary Baking, for allegations of
violating federal disability discrimination laws.
The EEOC alleges Patricia Hall, a long-term employee at
Legendary Baking’s Oak Forest, Illinois, baking facility, developed CSP myelopathy
from an injury outside of work. Hall was forced to take a leave of absence due
to the condition. She allegedly sought to return to work in a temporary
light-duty capacity, but the company illegally reserved that right to employees
injured on the job, the EEOC said.
Hall had to remain on leave and was purportedly fired after
180 days, pursuant to Legendary Baking’s leave policy. When she received
medical clearance the next month, she sought to be rehired but was allegedly turned
“Employers need to understand that that they are required to
make their light-duty programs available to employees with disabilities who are
recuperating from restrictions, even if they are unrelated to an on-the-job
injury," said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for EEOC's Chicago
District Office. "If Legendary Baking had complied with this requirement,
Ms. Hall might still be working there productively today.”
Hendrickson said the company could have given
accommodations to Hall fairly easily. According to Hendrickson, there was no
justification for the company’s failure to rehire Hall once she received
clearance to return to full work duty.