January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

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January 20, 2020

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American Woodmark to Pay $25,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Employee With Disabilities Denied a Reasonable Accommodation and Discharged After Seeking Two Days of Unpaid Leave, Federal Agency Charges

ATLANTA - American Woodmark Corporation, a wood cabinetry manufacturer, will pay $25,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, American Woodmark denied Erica Grier's request for an accommodation in the form of two days of unpaid leave in order to visit a doctor for treatment of her disabilities. Instead, American Woodmark assessed attendance infraction points to Grier, a 16-year employee of the company, under its rigid attendance policy. American Woodmark fired Grier for exceed­ing the permissible number of attendance points, despite her providing a doctor's note and updated Family Medical Leave Act forms showing she was absent for purposes of treatment and recovery relating to her disabilities.   

Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on an individual's disability. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 5:19-CV-381-TES) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. In addition to the monetary relief, American Woodmark agreed to create and implement an ADA policy, provide employment discrimination training to its employees, and to post anti-discrimination notices at its Jackson facility. In addition, the decree subjects American Woodmark to reporting and monitoring requirements.

"The use of intermittent medical leave for treatment of a medical condition deemed to be a disability under the ADA is widely recognized as a reasonable accommodation," said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office. "The EEOC is pleased that American Woodmark agreed to resolve this case and also that it agreed to implement an ADA policy and train its employees on its obligations under the ADA. The discrimin­ation victim in this case has been compen­sated and the employer will be better equipped to respond the next time an applicant or employee seeks leave as an accommodation for a disability."

Darrell E. Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, "The EEOC is committed to ending disability discrimination in Georgia and across the country. An employee should not be forced to risk termination for seeking medical leave as a perfectly reasonable accommodation under the ADA."

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

http://www1.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-13-19.cfm

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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