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Lawsuit against Home Depot alleges disability discrimination

Home Depot, which has locations in New York City, is facing disability discrimination charges after firing a woman instead of allowing her a reasonable workplace accommodation. According to the lawsuit filed on Sept. 28 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the woman suffers from fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome and simply needed a short break to attend to her medical needs. Allegedly, her employer refused her that break.

The EEOC initially tried to reach a settlement with Home Depot using its conciliation process. When that was unsuccessful, it filed the lawsuit. The case deals with a store in Peru, Illinois and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In addition to seeking nonmonetary measures to correct Home Depot's future practices, the EEOC has also asked for compensatory damages, punitive damages and back pay.

According to the EEOC, Home Depot terminated the woman for what the agency said were minor infractions. The agency also said that the infractions were the result of the employer's refusal to accommodate her.

People who believe they are facing discrimination at work based on a disability might want to talk to an attorney about their rights. In some cases, it may be possible to address the issue in the workplace. However, even if this is the case, it may be helpful for the person to have consulted with an attorney beforehand. If the employer is not responsive and the accommodation asked for by the employee does appear to have been a reasonable one, the next step may be a lawsuit seeking appropriate damages.

Source: National Law Review, "EEOC Sues Home Depot For Disability Discrimination, Oct. 3, 2017

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