When someone becomes unable to continue their job because of a disability, they should have the opportunity to seek proper accommodations that would allow them to continue contributing to their work. Imagine being diagnosed with cancer and later finding out you were losing your job because your employer wouldn't make an accommodation to fit your needs. That's exactly what happened to a Los Angeles retail worker.
The American Apparel worker, who took time off to battle cancer, is finally getting a settlement for being wrongly discriminated against for his disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced this week that the company will pay $60,000, settling the lawsuit that claims the employee faced workplace discrimination after he was not provided with proper accommodations for his disability.
The EEOC said the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. As part of the settlement the company will take steps to prevent further discrimination and has adopted an ADA policy. They will also provide training to managers on the ADA, inform employees about their rights under the ADA and appoint a coordinator to implement ADA policies in the future.
American Apparel has agreed to spend $20,000 of the settlement to sponsor informational seminars on workers' rights under the ADA. The other $40,000 will go to compensate the employee who was fired. The EEOC says that benefit of accommodating an employee often outweighs the costs associated with it for both employee and employer.
It is the responsibility of employers to ensure all employees understand their rights and are being treated fairly. Unfair treatment only hurts both parties involved.
Source: Job Mouse, "American Apparel Settles Lawsuit For Firing Garment Worker While on Medical Leave," Anneline Waldman, Dec. 20, 2011