The Camp Hill-based Rite-Aid drug store chain will pay $250,000 to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation complaint filed by an epileptic former worker at one of its Maryland facilities.
Christopher worked as a pharmacy order picker at Rite-Aid’s Mid-Atlantic Customer Service Center in Perryman, Md. The EEOC sued the chain on Christopher’s behalf in 2008 after he claimed the company denied him a promotion because of his epilepsy.
After investigating, the EEOC concluded discrimination most likely occurred. According to a subsequent filing, Rite-Aid then retaliated against Christopher by requiring him to submit to a fitness-for-duty examination before he could return to his position. The doctor—whom Christopher alleges had never before treated anyone with epilepsy—recommended termination and the company agreed.
In court, Rite-Aid asserted that epilepsy was not a disability under the ADA, and that the company did not “regard” Christopher as disabled.
The company also argued that Christopher was a direct threat to himself and others. In one case, the company claimed he had a seizure while driving a forklift and narrowly missed hitting another employee before crashing into some pallets. During another seizure, he allegedly grabbed a co-worker’s hair and wouldn’t let go even as she was screaming. Another time, Christopher allegedly pinched a co-worker’s breast during a seizure. Twice he had seizures at work that required trips to the hospital via ambulance.
Rite-Aid claimed it tried to accommodate Christopher, allowing him to continue working even though he could not perform essential elements of his job—driving a forklift and walking up to the second floor in the building where he worked.
In November 2010, a federal judge ordered a trial, noting it was not clear whether Rite-Aid regarded Christopher as disabled when it placed him on administrative leave, and that co-workers did not regard him as dangerous.
The case went to trial this year, but just before a jury was to begin deliberations, Rite-Aid and Christopher struck a settlement deal. In addition to paying Christopher, the company agreed to revise its ADA policies and provide ADA training for managers.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/33971/rite-aid-ex-worker-settle-disability-lawsuit-for-250k "