TO SETTLE EEOC CLASS INVESTIGATION EEOC Found Employer Discriminated and Retaliated Against Disabled Employees
CHICAGO - Justrite Manufacturing Company, a Mattoon, Ill.-based manufacturer of storage, handling and security products, will pay $418,000 to settle disability discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The settlement results from a multi-year EEOC investigation which found that Justrite discriminated against disabled employees in that it refused to engage in an interactive dialogue with employees to find reasonable accommodations, denied reasonable accommodations outright, and/or retaliated against those who requested accommodations or complained about discrimination. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The settlement not only provides monetary relief to those who have already been discriminated against, but also ensures the company will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination from occurring in the future. Justrite will conduct ADA training for all of its 130 employees, revise and disseminate its anti-discrimination policies and procedures, including those related to providing reasonable accommodations to employees under the ADA, and provide periodic reporting to the EEOC of complaints against the company and its progress in complying with the ADA.
"The reasonable accommodation process works best when both the worker and the employer engage in a good-faith, collaborative discussion to find a mutually beneficial way for the disabled employee to perform the job," said John P. Rowe, Director of the EEOC's Chicago District Office. "Retaliation against those who seek to begin this discussion would obviously undermine that process. Such conduct is not only illegal under the ADA, but is also destructive to the greater national goal of enabling employees, disabled or not, to take their place as workers as far as their talents and abilities will take them."
Justrite denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to conciliate the matter with the EEOC and a class or individuals, including the individuals who filed charges.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation's laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, and retaliation. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.