EEOC Seal

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
11-17-11

Journal Disposition Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Printing Company Fired Capable Worker Because of Cancer, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT - - Journal Disposition, the  former operator of IPC Print Services, Inc., a full-service print,  manufacturing and distribution company in St. Joseph, Mich., and employing at  least 200 people, has agreed to settle a disability discrimination suit brought  by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $55,000.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, Case No. 1:10-CV-00886,  filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, charged that  Journal Disposition terminated a long-time employee who had been diagnosed with  cancer because he exhausted his time under its short-term disability insurance  policy. The policy provided 26 weeks of leave within a rolling 12-month  period. Prior to the exhaustion of his  leave, the employee returned back and began working part-time hours while he  received chemotherapy. He was able to  perform all of the essential functions of his job. When the employee’s benefit  was exhausted under the policy, the company summarily terminated him and made  him eligible for rehire once he was able to work full-time, the EEOC said.

At the time of the discharge, the  EEOC said, the employee made an accommodation request to continue working  part-time until his chemotherapy ended about five months later. The company acknowledged the request, but  applied the policy nonetheless without considering any other factors such as  his ability to perform the job, the reasonableness of his request, or if the  request provided an undue hardship to the company.

Such alleged conduct violates the  Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employment  discrimination against people with disabilities. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to  reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the terms of consent decree, signed by U.S.  District Judge Robert Holmes Bell, Journal Disposition will pay the employee  $55,000. Since the employer no longer  operated the facility, no other equitable relief was required.

“When a qualified individual with a  disability makes a reasonable accommodation request, the employer has a duty  under the ADA  to consider and evaluate it,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Trek Carethers. “It was clear the company had not, and the  fact that the company eventually rehired the employee did not excuse the  original violation.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation’s  laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.