Inflexible leave policies cost company $1.75M

A healthcare company found out that the cost of complying with federal disability accommodation and discrimination laws is likely lower than what they’ll end up paying for violating them. 
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Family HealthCare used its rigid leave policies and practices as justification to deny reasonable accommodations to disabled and/or pregnant employees.
By refusing to extend medical leave and then firing employees for not showing up for work – or even firing them while they were still on approved leave – the commission said, the company violated three separate statutes – the ADA; the Pregnancy  Discrimination Act (PDA), and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

‘Systemic discrimination’

Visalia, CA-based Family HealthCare Network agreed to pay a whopping $1.75 million to settle a suit over what the commission calls “systemic disability and pregnancy discrimination.”
The company will also be spending even more money to hire someone to review and revise its leave policies, implement training programs and develop a system that tracks workers’ accommodation and discrimination complaints. And, the company will be reporting to the EEOC on its policies for three years.
The case shows that all employers should review leave policies to ensure they don’t discriminate against workers with disabilities or pregnant employees. In this instance, a little policy flexibility could’ve helped avoid a gigantic payout.
Cite: bit.ly/ 2zYwvY6

Tim McElgunn
Tim, a member of the HRMorning staff, is a veteran writer and editor. His background includes producing and managing publications for Bloomberg, Frost & Sullivan, Gartner Group and McGraw-Hill. Email: tmcelgunn@hrmorning.com