A Minnesota lumber company has agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit, federal authorities say.
The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Lake States Lumber Inc., a manufacturer and wholesale distributor of lumber and wood products in Duluth, Minn., alleges the company unlawfully fired an employee after he returned to work following heart surgery.
After the surgery, the employee’s doctors released him to return to work with no restrictions, but managers restricted his ability to work and assigned him to a different job. Nine days later, he was fired, the EEOC said.
This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which makes it unlawful to discriminate against or terminate an employee because he or she has a disability, a record of a disability, or is regarded as disabled.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lake States Lumber, Inc., Civil Action No. 19-cv-01549 (NEB/LIB) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Besides the monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit requires that in the future, Lake States Lumber will not require employees to be released without restrictions or be 100% healthy prior to returning to work.
The consent decree also requires training on the ADA for management personnel and employees, and that the company report disability discrimination complaints to the EEOC during the term of the decree.
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