EEOC Sues Colorado Company for Axing Employee with Bipolar Disorder

September 24, 2012

Dillon Cos., which does business in Colorado as King Soopers Inc., a large retail food company, refused to accommodate and unlawfully fired a receptionist at its company headquarters because of her bipolar condition, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in federal court in Denver.

According to suit, EEOC v. Dillon Companies, Inc., d/b/a King Soopers, Inc., King Soopers refused to accommodate Kelly Ferris’s need for sufficient time off to manage her bipolarism.

Hired as a receptionist in 2003, Ferris worked at King Soopers’ headquarters on Tejon Street in Denver for five years before she was discharged while on medical leave. Ferris requested use of the company’s 18-month medical leave policy saying she needed the time to manage a flare-up in her disability.

During her fifth month of company leave, King Soopers fired her for failing to report to work without permission, according to the EEOC suit.

Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employers to engage in an interactive process with employees in good faith, exploring what accommodations for a disability are possible. The EEOC suit seeks monetary damages on behalf of Ferris, training on anti-discrimination laws, an injunction, posting of anti-discrimination notices at the work site and other injunctive relief.

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