WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit July 17 against Connections CSP Inc., a nonprofit company providing health care, housing and employment opportunities, for allegations of denying reasonable accommodation to a class of employees with disabilities.
"Rigid maximum-leave policies, even if they comply with other laws, violate the ADA when the policy mandates the termination of employees," said Spencer H. Lewis Jr., director of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office.
"This case should remind all employers of the need to engage in the legally required interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations, such as modifications of leave policies or transfers to vacant positions, on a case-by-case basis unless the employer can show it is a significant cost or disruption of business."
According to allegations, the company had a fixed leave policy that was unlawful. It purportedly refused to provide leave beyond the 12 weeks allowed under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and fired employees if they could not return to work after their leave expired. Additionally, Connections allegedly denied other forms of reasonable accommodation to allow those employees to remain employed.
"While employers may have leave policies that establish the maximum amount of leave an employer will provide or permit, the ADA requires that the employer modify those policies and grant additional leave as a reasonable accommodation to employees who need it because of a disability, unless the employer can prove that doing so will cause an undue hardship," said EEOC regional attorney Debra M. Lawrence.