PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced March 28 that ValleyLife, a disability support services company, will pay $100,000 over allegations of disability discrimination.
"People with disabilities are valuable contributors to our workforce," said EEOC Phoenix district office regional attorney Mary Jo O'Neill. "It is critically important for employers to make genuine efforts to provide reasonable accommodations for those employees with disabilities who need them. It's good business and it's also the law."
ValleyLife would, rather than provide reasonable accommodation, allegedly fire employees with disabilities if they needed extended leave or reassignment, according to the EEOC. The commission says the company terminated employees who had exhausted their paid time off and/or any unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rather than determine whether they could provide employees with reasonable accommodations that would allow the employees to continue work.
The alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"Employees with disabilities whose FMLA leave has been exhausted have independent rights under the ADA,” said Elizabeth Cadle, district director of the EEOC's Phoenix district office. “Employers must consider reasonable accommodations including additional unpaid leave, leaves of absence and reassignment."