Employees of Connecticut companies have a legal right to a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment. When an individual with a disability requests reasonable accommodation so that he or she may perform the duties of a job without suffering harm from a medical condition, an employer must provide it.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website states that reasonable accommodation includes modifying the facilities or equipment or reassigning tasks. Under federal law, an employer refusing a request for reasonable accommodation or retaliating against a disabled employee may engage in discrimination.
Disabled employee fired from big-box retailer awarded $5.2 million
After working for a big-box retailer for 16 years, a disabled employee filed a legal action against the company when a newly hired manager refused to allow for a previously provided reasonable accommodation. In addition to the manager’s refusal violating federal labor law, the employee also found himself effectively terminated within a month of his request. The manager suspended the employee and required him to submit paperwork to prove that his medical condition required accommodation and then ceased all communication with him.
Because of his condition, the employee required a coach to assist him with performing his responsibilities as a cart pusher. By law, an employer must provide the accommodation when requested as long as it does not cause undue hardship to the company. Because public funding paid for the employee’s job coach, the request did not cause the company any hardship or additional cost.
As reported by Newsweek, the terminated employee won his argument after the jury found the company in violation of federal labor laws. As a result, the jury awarded the former employee compensatory and punitive damages totaling $5.2 million.
Discrimination based on a disability is against the law
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits an employer from making decisions such as hiring and firing an employee based on a disability. An individual who has reason to believe that an employer has violated his or her federal or state workers’ rights may file a legal action to pursue a remedy.