U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EEOC Said Airline Unlawfully Terminated Clerk Because of Arthritis
DETROIT -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit against Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. for $20,000 and significant injunctive relief on behalf of a clerk with arthritis who was allegedly fired for walking too slowly on the job. Pinnacle is a Memphis, Tenn.-based airlines carrier operating out of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
The EEOC’s suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Case No. 2:09-CV-13300) charged that Pinnacle Airlines fired the recently hired Flight Operations Clerk because it believed that arthritis in her left knee caused her to walk too slowly, despite her competent performance. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities.
An EEOC two-year consent decree resolving the case was signed by U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani. In addition to paying the former Flight Operations Clerk $20,000, the decree prohibits the airline from engaging in any employment practice that discriminates against anyone on the basis of disability and from retaliating against employees who oppose discriminatory practices. The company has also agreed to:
“Pinnacle Airlines should be applauded for working cooperatively with the EEOC in resolving this suit quickly and agreeing to measures that will help ensure that similar situations do not reoccur,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Trek Carethers. “We are pleased with the terms of the consent decree and this company’s commitment to prevent disability discrimination going forward.”
According to company information, Pinnacle Airlines, which employs over 4,300 individuals, flies over 740 Delta Connection flights daily to 120 airports across the United States and Canada.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.