Company Denied Employee an Accommodation for Anxiety and Depression, Then Fired Her, Federal Agency Charged
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Crain Automotive Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Sherwood, Ark., will pay $27,100 to a former employee as part of the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the company refused to provide a medical leave of absence as an accommodation to an employee who suffered from anxiety and depression and then fired her because of her disability.
Disability discrimination violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, Civil Action No. 4:17-cv-627 JLH, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. While denying any wrongdoing, Crain chose to resolve this matter prior to trial.
In addition to paying the former employee $2,100 in back pay, Crain will also pay $25,000 in compensatory damages. Further, Crain agreed to:
•review and revise its written policy prohibiting disability discrimination, to ensure that the policy specifically explains the process by which an employee requests a reasonable accommodation;
•disseminate a copy of the policy to all employees;
•within 90 days of entry of the decree, have all employees sign and acknowledge receipt of the revised policy; and
•train all managers at its corporate office and at its dealerships on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodation.
“The ADA ensures that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to achieve success in the workplace,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. “The EEOC commends Crain and its attorney for working with the agency to resolve this lawsuit to the satisfaction of all.”
Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the Memphis District Office, added, “Employers should ascertain whether their employment handbooks are updated so that supervisors, managers, and employees know what the ADA requires.”
Crain Automotive is comprised of 16 automotive dealerships whose primary business is selling and trading new and used vehicles, selling retail and wholesale parts, and repairing vehicles.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.