Thrift Store Rejected Employee’s Repeated Requests for Reasonable Accommodations for Her Disabling Medical Conditions, Federal Agency Charged
ATLANTA – Atlanta-based Georgia Retail Company and Georgia Thrift Stores, Inc., operating as Value Village retail stores, will pay $45,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the company violated federal law when it denied an employee’s requests for accommodation due to her disabling medical conditions and forced her to quit her job.
According to the EEOC’s suit, the management of the Value Village store in Forest Park, Ga., knew of the employee’s medical conditions but failed to approve her repeated requests for use of a portable oxygen tank and to be transferred to a less strenuous position to prevent aggravating her conditions. In June 2017, the employee, who was employed as a stocker, decided to resign from her position after being hospitalized, citing that Value Village’s denial of her accommodation requests had compromised her health.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Georgia Retail Company and Georgia Thrift Stores, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-CV-01916) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Under the consent decree settling the suit, Value Village will pay the employee $45,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages. In addition, Value Village will be required to distribute a revised formal, written anti-discrimination policy to all employees at all of its retail stores. The decree also requires that the company provide annual disability discrimination training to its managers, supervisors and employees. The three-year decree further requires the company to post a notice to its employees about the lawsuit and to provide periodic reporting to the EEOC about disability discrimination complaints.
“We are pleased at the cooperation shown by Value Village in resolving this matter and taking affirmative steps to prevent a similar situation from arising in the future,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.
Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, added, “Employees with disabilities are contributing members of the workforce and should never be denied the protections bestowed upon them by our federal laws.”
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.