December 6, 2022

Volume XII, Number 340


December 05, 2022

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EEOC Sues Home Depot For Disability Discrimination

Peru, Ill., Store Fired Employee Because of Her Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Fibromyalgia in Violation of ADA, Federal Agency Charges

Home Depot failed to accommodate and then fired an employee who had a disability-related emergency at its Peru, Ill., store, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on Sept. 28.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the large national home improvement retailer violated federal law by firing April Stevenson, an employee with irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia, rather than allowing her to take a short break to care for herself.

The EEOC brought the suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination in employment, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case (EEOC v. The Home Depot / Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-06990) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman. The EEOC is seeking full make-whole relief, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and non-monetary measures to correct Home Depot's practices going forward.

"Our investigation revealed that Home Depot fired Ms. Stevenson after she had a medical emergency related to her disabilities that required prompt attention," said EEOC Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman. "Home Depot failed to provide her adequate means to attend to her disability, then fired her for minor policy infractions that were caused only by Home Depot's failure to accommodate her."

EEOC Chicago District Regional Attorney Greg Gochanour said, "The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. Here, Ms. Stevenson simply needed a short break to care for herself and then return to work - an accommodation that Home Depot easily could have provided."

Home Depot's corporate headquarters are in Georgia.

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Read the original article on the EEOC website here.

© Copyright U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 276

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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.

Most employers with at least 15 employees...