Lowe’s Pays $$8.6M for Firing Disabled Workers Who Sought Extended Medical Leave

By | May 13, 2016

Lowe’s Cos. has reached an $8.6 million settlement of a U.S. agency lawsuit accusing the nation’s second-largest home improvement retailer of illegally firing workers who went on medical leave for a long time.

The accord resolves Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that Lowe’s violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by terminating employees whose medical leaves of absence exceeded the company’s 180- or 240-day maximum leave policy.

A consent decree detailing the settlement was approved on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte in Los Angeles. It requires Lowe’s to retain consultants to oversee its leave of absence policies, and track workers’ requests for accommodations.

The Mooresville, North Carolina-based company also agreed to improve employee training.

Lowe’s denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle. The decree lasts for four years.

The accord sends a “clear message” that automatically firing disabled workers who reach rigid limits on leaves of absence may be illegal, EEOC General Counsel David Lopez said.

Karen Cobb, a Lowe’s spokeswoman, said the company updated its leave of absence policies in 2010, and has since taken steps “to ensure consistency in applying our policies and help employees manage their leaves of absence and accommodations.”

The EEOC said anyone Lowe’s fired between Jan. 1, 2004 and May 13, 2010 after taking maximum leave may pursue a claim.

The case stemmed from EEOC charges filed between 2007 and 2010 that Lowe’s fired three workers after unreasonably refusing to grant them extended medical leave.

The case is U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v Lowe’s Cos et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 16-03041.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Alistair Bell and Meredith Mazzilli)

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Latest Comments

  • May 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm
    Captain Planet says:
    He's no Christian at all. He's right there with Trump standing with bended wrists and elbows making fun of disabled people. When I go to the grocery store, many times I select... read more
  • May 19, 2016 at 9:34 am
    UW says:
    You just repeated it in the next comment so you obviously didn't take it as a joke not to be considered seriously. This is medical leave, so the people most likely became si... read more
  • May 19, 2016 at 9:14 am
    Ron says:
    Agent, Accommodating fellow human beings who happen to be different or disabled. Oh the horror. Please tell us again how you claim to be a Christian.

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