GREENVILLE, S.C. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced April 4 that Zale Delaware Inc., doing business as Piercing Pagoda, will pay $30,000 after allegations of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to the EEOC, Piercing Pagoda fired employee Rose Gravel due to her disability. Gravel, a manager at a Piercing Pagoda kiosk in Greenville, since May 2010, has degenerative disc disease and fibromyalgia. She allegedly told the jewelry retailer April 26, 2013, that she needed an accommodation for her disability; she needed to sit for 15 minutes of every hour of work. The company allegedly refused her request and fired her.

"The need for an assistive device such as a stool should not disqualify anyone from a job," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District. "When a qualified employee with a disability is ready and willing to work, the employer has a legal duty to provide a reasonable accommodation to make that employment possible unless the employer can show undue hardship -- which EEOC contends was not present in this case."

In addition to monetary relief, Zale entered a two-year consent decree requiring annual ADA training for human resources employees of Piercing Pagoda, as well as regional and district managers.

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