ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit May 3 against Two Peaches Group LLC, which does business as Value Village and operates five for-profit thrift stores in the Atlanta area, for allegations of disability discrimination and refusing reasonable accommodation requests.
"An employer should never dismiss an employee's request for a reasonable accommodation for his/her disability,” Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director of the Atlanta office, said in a statement. “The appropriate accommodation is best determined through an interactive process that involves both the employer and the employee who has a disability."
The EEOC alleges Value Village received a reasonable accommodation request from employee Marjorie Clark around January 2016. Clark needed to wear an oxygen backpack while working so that she could treat COPD and emphysema. Value Village purportedly denied her request, and then later denied another request by her to move to a less strenuous position with the company. Clark was forced to resign.
"Employers have a legal duty to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities that enable them to perform the essential functions of their job," Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office, said in a statement. “Value Village's refusal to accommodate Clark prevented her from continuing to do the job she had done for more than 11 years and compromised her health."
The EEOC seeks injunctive relief against Value Village to prevent future discrimination, and it seeks back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Clark.