Pivotal Home Solutions, a home warranty company headquartered in Naperville, Illinois, will pay $175,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced
According to the EEOC’s suit, a former employee worked at Pivotal Home Solutions (“Pivotal”) as a dispatcher through a staffing agency for nearly six months. During that time, she succeeded in her role, received no negative performance evaluations, and was told that she would likely be hired to work directly for Pivotal instead of through the staffing agency. In January 2018, the employee disclosed to her supervisor that she had a panic attack and had been prescribed medication to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
Shortly thereafter, the supervisor contacted several representatives of the staffing company that placed the employee at Pivotal and requested that she be separated because of her “nervous breakdown.” In two of the phone calls, documented by representatives of the staffing company, the supervisor indicated that the employee had no performance issues but that he wanted to separate her anyway because he believed that the environment was too stressful for her. At least one representative of the staffing company informed the supervisor of the risk of terminating an employee for a medical condition that did not affect her performance, but the supervisor continued to request that the employee be terminated.
Such conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (EEOC v. Pivotal Home Solutions, Civil Action No. 21-cv-04978), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the EEOC’s conciliation process.
Under the three-year consent decree settling the suit, Pivotal will pay $175,000 to the former employee. Further, Pivotal is subject to an injunction forbidding it from discriminating against employees, including employees working for Pivotal through a staffing company, because of their disability. Pivotal is also subject to an injunction forbidding it from retaliating against employees for opposing any practice made unlawful under the ADA, filing a charge of discrimination under the ADA, testifying in any proceeding under the ADA, or for asserting any rights under the consent decree.
Pivotal is also required to update its policies to prohibit discrimination under the ADA and to update the policies to state explicitly that they apply to employees working at Pivotal through staffing companies. In addition, Pivotal will provide annual trainings conducted by outside and independent trainers to managers and all employees responsible for human resources about their obligations under the ADA.
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