LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – Lowe’s, the home improvement
store, will pay $8.6 million to resolve nationwide disability discrimination
allegations, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced.
Lowe’s allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) by committing a pattern of discrimination against people with
disabilities. According to EEOC, Lowe’s fired these employees and failed to
provide reasonable accommodations to them when their medical leaves of absence
exceeded Lowe’s policy.
"This settlement sends a clear message to employers
that policies that limit the amount of leave may violate the ADA when they call
for the automatic firing of employees with a disability after they reach a
rigid, inflexible leave limit," EEOC General Counsel David Lopez said.
"We hope that our efforts here will encourage employers to voluntarily
comply with the ADA."
A four-year consent decree will require Lowe’s to retain a
consultant with ADA experience to review its company policies. It must also
implement effective training for its employees and submit regular reports to
EEOC verifying its compliance with the agreement.
"We applaud the efforts by Lowe's in reaching a
resolution with EEOC that provides both meaningful monetary relief and
important equitable relief for thousands of former Lowe's employees,” Anna
Park, the regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District Office, said. “We
encourage people impacted by this situation to come forward and make a