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Lessons from the Courts: October ’16

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Claustrophobia could be a disability. A beauty salon will pay $60,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of a hair stylist who suffers from claustrophobia. The salon attempted to accommodate the employee, but she suffered an anxiety attack working between two other stylists and landed in the hospital. She was fired when her condition required her to take two months off for treatment.

The takeaway: A phobia can be classified as a disability in that it can affect a person’s psychological being and ability to perform certain tasks. Courts will look at the specifics of each case.

When bias creeps into discipline, expect a lawsuit. A Kansas City, Mo., cabinetmaker faces a race discrimination lawsuit after it fired two black employees who were allegedly involved in a time-card falsification scandal, but not a white employee who also played a part in the scheme. The EEOC charged that the employer fired the pair because of their race.

The takeaway: Employees cannot be held to different disciplinary standards based on race, age, sex, etc.

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