As small and midsize business owners, it is crucial to be aware of the potential penalties associated with violating employment laws, particularly those related to disability discrimination. A recent lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Red Barchetta LLC, a Holiday Inn Express & Suites franchisee, serves as a stark reminder of the importance of treating employees with disabilities fairly and in compliance with the law.
In this article, we delve into the details of the case and emphasize the significance of creating an inclusive and accommodating work environment.
The HR experts at Asure help business owners comply with federal, state, and local employment laws. Learn more about how Asure can protect your business here.
The Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Red Barchetta LLC, located in Elkins, West Virginia, faced allegations of disability discrimination against one of its employees. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the company employed a housekeeper with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma for over seven years. After a visit to the emergency room and a brief medical absence related to her disabilities, the employee received medical clearance to return to work and communicated her readiness to hotel management on multiple occasions. However, the management refused to schedule her for work and eventually terminated her employment due to her disabilities, as alleged by the EEOC.
Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The alleged conduct described in the lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Red Barchetta LLC violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants based on their disabilities. Employers have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, allowing them to perform essential job functions. Red Barchetta’s failure to schedule the employee for work and subsequent termination based on her disabilities violated these protections.
The Consequences and Importance of Compliance
To resolve the lawsuit, Red Barchetta LLC agreed to pay $40,000 in monetary relief to the former employee and implemented comprehensive policies to prevent disability discrimination. The company is now required, under the consent decree, to establish an effective process for individualized, objective evaluation of an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions and determine any necessary reasonable accommodations.
Anti-discrimination training will be provided to management personnel with decision-making authority related to the ADA, ensuring a better understanding of disability rights and accommodations.
The disability discrimination lawsuit against Red Barchetta LLC serves as a reminder of the significant consequences businesses may face for failing to accommodate employees with disabilities and violating their rights. As business owners, it is essential to create an inclusive work environment that embraces diversity and respects the rights of individuals with disabilities.
By adhering to federal laws, providing reasonable accommodations, and making individualized assessments of employees’ abilities to perform essential job functions, businesses can mitigate legal risks, foster a positive workplace culture, and ensure equal opportunities for all employees. Remember, by embracing inclusivity and complying with disability discrimination laws, businesses can thrive and create a supportive environment for their workforce.
Connect with an HR expert at Asure to help your business comply with employment laws and protect your business.