January 16, 2013: Interstate Distributor Company agreed to pay $4.85 million and signed a consent order to settle a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of several employees.
According to the EEOC's suit, if an employee needed more than 12 weeks of leave, Interstate automatically terminated them rather than determining if it would be reasonable to provide additional leave as an accommodation.
This is an important point. Twelve weeks per year is the maximum leave-time (it may be taken in weeks, in single days, or partial days) under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but “extending a leave time for an employee who has good prospects of recovery is a reasonable accommodation” which the employer must make, according to The FMLA Handbook, by Robert Schwartz.
Thus the employer’s blanket limitation of 12 weeks leave time was illegal under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
Teamsters with family and medical problems have rights, and need the know-how to enforce them.
The EEOC’s report on the case is available here.
Click here to order the The FMLA Handbook.