The Jackson Sun Newspaper Agrees to Pay $150,000 to Settle Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
The Jackson Sun, a Gannet daily newspaper, has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division, after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its internal administrative process. The suit alleged that the Jackson Sun violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it fired an employee one week after his return from a medical leave of absence. The employee had sustained permanent spinal cord damage after undergoing back surgery.
The ADA requires that an employer provide a reasonable accommodation to an individual with a disability unless the employer demonstrates that the accommodation would pose an undue hardship. According to the EEOC, the Jackson Sun could have accommodated the employee with minimal effort and his termination was discriminatory.
Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Memphis District Office said that “This situation and lawsuit, like so many others, could easily have been averted if this company had simply made a good-faith effort at a reasonable accommodation.”
Under the terms of the settlement, the Jackson Sun will provide training on the ADA to all of its employees. The newspaper will also post a notice to its employees about the lawsuit that includes the EEOC’s contact information. The Jackson Sun has revised its serious leave/disability policy to clarify the process by which an employee should request an accommodation and will provide a report to the EEOC outlining any requests for an accommodation and the company’s response to that request.
Both federal and California laws protect employees from discrimination based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, and disability.
If you believe you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.