MIDLAND, Texas (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that Minnesota-based Regis Corporation, doing business as SmartSyle, will pay $60,000 after allegations of federal disability discrimination.


"This settlement is an important reminder to employers of their obligation to comply with the ADA and ensure that employees who need a reasonable accommodation will receive the protections and opportunities available to them under federal law," EEOC senior trial attorney Devika Seth said.


The EEOC had charged Regis denied Jacquez an accommodation for her claustrophobia and then fired her. Jacquez was hired by the company in January 2014 to work as a stylist. She asked to not be placed in a confined space, between other stylists, due to her claustrophobia.


The company initially complied but later failed to do so, EEOC charges. Because of having to work in a confined space, Jacquez allegedly had a reaction that caused her to go to the emergency room. The EEOC said the company refused to assist her with necessary paperwork for medical leave and then fired her. Alleged conduct of this nature violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.


"Claustrophobia is a serious matter,” \EEOC regional attorney Robert A. Canino said. “When we discovered management refused to give this employee some space, our investigation closed in on what amounted to intolerance by management. The consent decree provides an avenue for the employer to change its approach and communicate its commitment to its employees with disabilities."

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