According to a September 29th article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Sears Holding Corporation has been ordered by a federal judge to pay $6.2 million related to a disability discrimination case that has traversed its way through the courts since 2004. The lawsuit arose after a Sears employee named John Bava discovered that Sears had fired him at the terminus of his workers’ compensation leave. (Bava had worked as a technician for Sears. He injured himself years ago while making repairs at a customer’s house.)
According to a Chicago area EEOC spokesperson, the company failed to “provide Bava with a reasonable accommodation which would have put him back to work and, instead, fired him when his leave expired.” The EEOC also alleged that Sears had mismanaged other employee leave cases, providing little leeway for injured workers to return to work — in direct violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Pursuant to the consent decree that Sears approved, the company will overhaul its workers’ compensation policies, train staff to ensure that employees adhere closely to stipulations of the ADA, and keep the EEOC appraised in writing of all company workers’ compensation cases.
Disability discrimination is an insidious type of labor rights violation. When injured workers are terminated illegally and/or denied proper wages, benefits, and opportunities to work, they often lack other ready avenues to bring in income. If you or a family member has been the victim of disability discrimination or retaliation, the firm of Joseph & Kirschenbaum is here to help. Discover how at www.jhllp.com, or dial (212) 688-5640 today to speak with a compassionate member of our team for free (and at no obligation) about your situation.