Federal Agency Charged Company Disclosed Employee’s Confidential Medical Information and Fired Her for Complaining
JACKSON, Miss. – Headquartered in Tennessee, Tractor Supply Company, the nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer with over 2,400 stores and more than 50,000 employees, has agreed to pay $75,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Tractor Supply Company violated federal law when it disclosed an employee’s confidential medical information, subjected her to a hostile work environment, and terminated her because of her disability and as retaliation for complaining. The employee was born with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, which is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Company managers learned of the employee’s disability and publicized the information to her co-workers and customers, who then harassed the employee because of her condition. When the employee complained about this harassment and the disclosure of her confidential medication information, the company disciplined her without justification and ultimately fired her.

Such alleged conduct violates the ADA, which prohibits: the disclosure of an employee’s confidential medical information; discrimination against individuals with a disability; subjecting an individual to a hostile work environment because of their disability; and retaliation against an employee who opposes unlawful conduct. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Tractor Supply Company, Case No. 2:22-cv-00131-KS-MTP) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi after its Jackson Area Office completed an investigation and first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The Court approved a consent decree resolving the dispute on May 14, 2024.The two-year consent decree settling the suit requires Tractor Supply Company to pay $75,000 to the employee, enhance its policies concerning disability discrimination and retaliation, and train annually all its employees nationwide about disability discrimination and retaliation.

“Employees should be able to trust that their employer will protect the privacy of their confidential medical information,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Bradley Anderson. “They should also be able to work without being harassed because of their disability. That’s what the ADA requires, and the EEOC is committed to enforcing these important protections under the law.”

Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, said, “Tractor Supply Company created and maintained a hostile work environment for this employee by publicizing her private medical information and then failing to address the harassment this generated. Rather than protect this employee from harassment, the company fired her. This is unlawful under the ADA, and the EEOC will hold an employer accountable when it violates this crucial federal law.”

For more information on disability discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination. For more information on retaliation, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/retaliation.

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

The EEOC prevents and remedies unlawful employment discrimination and advances equal opportunity for all. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.