Tag Archives: disability discrimination

Lowe’s Settles for $8.6 M for Wrongful Termination Claims

Being let go from your job almost never seems like a fair scenario. Now, consider being let go from your job while being out from work on a medical leave due to a disability. Sound unfair? Maybe even illegal? Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) argued this may actually be the case for former Lowe’s employees. Workers were let go after using up all their medical leave time and not being granted additional time off when they weren’t yet well enough to return to their posts. According to the American with Disabilities Act, the EEOC argues that these workers should not have been subject to a wrongful termination but rather been granted an accommodation by way of additional time off.

If Lowe’s, one of the nation’s largest home improvement retailers, can make this alleged mistake, the layoff you may have experienced may not be legal either. This sort of wrongful termination cost Lowe’s big as they had to resolve the dispute by paying $8.6 million to eligible ex-employees who were allegedly unlawfully discharged for this reason. The other portion of the resolution called for Lowe’s employment practices to be in complete compliance with federal law. Company policy and procedures would have to be accepting of requests for reasonable accommodation in regards to extra time off when a worker ending their medical leave is unable to return to work. Lowe’s will also have to establish improved record keeping methods in regards to requests for medical leaves as well as extensions to leaves.

Losing your job can be a stressful experience. If you or anyone you know has been terminated from their job while on a medical leave, please call an employment lawyer. The employment attorneys at Fitapelli & Schaffer have experience handling cases of wrongful termination due to all kinds of discrimination. Please call for a free phone consultation at (212) 300-0375 or visit our website for more information www.fslawfirm.com.

Alcoholism: Wrongful Termination of a Protected Class

The former coach of the University of South Carolina’s Trojans, Steve Sarkisian, has filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination against USC for allegedly firing him unlawfully for an alcohol disability. In this lawsuit, Sarkisian is asking for more than $30,000,000 after claiming to be a victim of wrongful termination. He was terminated via email whilst on a leave of absence from the university. Alcoholism, considered by many courts to be a disability should not make anyone a target for discrimination. Sarkisian claims to have emerged from rehab ready and able to return to work.

What are Protected Classes?

It is unfortunate to note that in many states workers are considered at-will employees and can consequently be fired for almost any reason or no reason at all. However, there is something called a protected class that impedes employers from firing its workers due to certain characteristics they possess. The characteristics of a protected class can include, race, religion, gender, national origin, age, pregnancy and disability. Individual states can also add other protected classes.  Although Sarkisian’s case was filed in California, New York City has similar laws protecting those suffering from alcoholism or substance addiction from wrongful termination.

What can be done?

If you qualify as having a disability, it is unlawful for an employer to take any adverse employment action against you based solely on your disability, especially if the result is a wrongful termination. In fact, an employer is obligated to provide you with a “reasonable accommodation”, upon your request, to assist you in the performance of your employment responsibilities. If you are unsure whether you qualify as having a “disability”, or if your employer has taken an adverse action against you or failed to provide you with a reasonable accommodation, we advise you to contact our wrongful termination attorneys.