A federal judge has approved a $6.2 million settlement agreement between Chicago-based retail giant Sears and the EEOC. The settlement comes after the commission determined last year that Sears’ policy of terminating disabled employees rather than negotiating reasonable accommodations violated the ADA.
The case represents the largest ADA settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history.
The EEOC said 235 Sears employees were eligible to participate in the settlement. The average award for each employee is $26,300.
Sears ran into trouble because it had an inflexible workers’ compensation leave policy that left no room for the individualized assessments required under the ADA. As a result, many employees who could have returned to work at Sears with reasonable accommodations were terminated instead.
Note: Review your workers’ compensation and policies to ensure they leave enough flexibility to negotiate reasonable accommodations with disabled workers.
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