Was disability bias behind Lowe’s manager demotion?

An employee at a Lowe’s store in Cleburne, Texas claims the home improvement chain violated the ADA when it demoted him from his department manager position and cut his pay.

The manager has a spinal cord injury that impairs the use of his right arm. As a result, he is unable to operate some power tools. Despite his disability, the man performed his job satisfactorily for six years. Lowe’s allowed him to delegate power tool operations to other employees.

However, in June 2015, Lowe’s informed the department manager that it was discontinuing the accommodation and he would be demoted.

He filed an ADA complaint with the EEOC, which has now filed a lawsuit on the man’s behalf. It seeks back pay, reinstatement to the department manager position and compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

Note: Employers that discontinue an accommodation that has worked for a long time usually have a hard time prevailing in court.