PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Nov. 20 that American Airlines and Envoy Air will pay $9.8 million in stock after allegations of nationwide disability discrimination.

"This matter highlights the critical role of the Americans with Disabilities Act in getting people back to work as quickly as possible," said EEOC acting chair Victoria A. Lipnic. "The parties deserve credit for working diligently to bring this matter to resolution."

According to the EEOC, American and Envoy unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"We are pleased the parties were able to resolve this important case without resorting to prolonged and expensive litigation, and we are proud of the commission's long record of protecting people with disabilities from workplace discrimination,” said EEOC deputy general counsel James L. Lee.

American and Envoy allegedly conducted a business practice of mandating that employees must have no restrictions when returning to work after disability leave. According to the EEOC, the defendants failed to see if reasonable accommodations could allow employees to work with restrictions.

"This settlement demonstrates the need for employers to have good ADA policies,” said Elizabeth Cadle, district director for the Phoenix office. “That means policies which consider employers' obligations to provide reassignment without competition as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities who become unable to do their current job even with accommodations."

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