American Airlines offers equity stake to settle ADA bias lawsuit

American Airlines, along with its subsidiary Envoy Air, has settled a class-action disability discrimination suit for $9.8 million.

In addition to the large sum of money, the settlement is distinguished by how employees will be paid—with shares of American Airlines stock.

The EEOC had filed the suit in federal court. It challenged the airlines’ policy of refusing to reinstate workers who had taken medical leave if they had any medical restrictions.

The EEOC alleged the practice violated the ADA because under the blanket policy, the companies:

1. Failed to assess each employee’s situation individually

2. Did not explore reasonable accommodations that might allow workers to perform their jobs even if they had medical restrictions.

In addition to paying employees in stock, the airlines agreed to a two-year consent decree under which they will provide mandatory ADA training to pertinent employees and change policies to incorporate the reasonable accommodation analysis the ADA requires.