Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Pepsi Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit for $120,000
The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. has agreed to pay $120,000 and implement preventive measures to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Pepsi terminated a driver at its Hayward, Calif., facility, for “job abandonment and violation of the company attendance policy,” despite that the employee had followed proper procedure to inform his supervisor and the company that he could not finish his route due to his disability and needed to take medical leave.
Under the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, Pepsi agrees to implement training on anti-discrimination laws, post a notice at the work site on the settlement and other injunctive relief, in addition to paying the former driver $120,000.
The EEOC noted that medical leave is a widely recognized accommodation, and that in this case it could easily have been granted, avoiding the loss of a valuable and experienced employee. The EEOC also noted that the recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act have broadened the definition of disability, and that employers may therefore want to re-evaluate their policies on workplace accommodations.