Restaurant Fired Manager Days Before Medical Leave for Cancer Surgery, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE - OHM Concessions Group, LLC, which operates Dunkin' Donuts stores at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), will pay $151,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
Joan McMahon O'Donnell successfully performed her job duties as a regional manager at the company's BWI Dunkin' Donuts locations, according to the suit. After O'Donnell was diagnosed with breast cancer and requested unpaid leave for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Dunkin' Donuts refused to provide a reasonable accommodation and instead abruptly discharged her because of her disability, EEOC charged.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. OHM Concessions Group, LLC, d/b/a Dunkin Donuts, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-01946) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $151,000 in monetary relief to O'Donnell, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit prohibits OHM from engaging in any future disability discrimination. OHM will implement a new attendance policy which includes a provision for requesting reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. The restaurant will provide annual ADA training to all supervisors, managers and human resources employees. OHM will also post a notice about the settlement and will report to EEOC about how it handled any internal complaints of alleged disability discrimination.
"Providing a leave of absence for an employee who needs medical treatment related to a disability is not only the decent thing to do - it is required by federal law unless the employer can show it would pose an undue hardship," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "This settlement fairly compensates Ms. O'Donnell for her losses. Equally important, the consent decree contains equitable relief, including training and monitoring provisions, designed to ensure that employees with disabilities get reasonable accommodations if needed."
EEOC Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.