Monday, December 13, 2010

The EEOC scrutinizes "no fault" termination policies
Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP
Anne C. Emert
December 3 2010

The EEOC has recently taken a strong position against “no fault” termination policies whichrequire the automatic termination of an employee who cannot return to work after theexpiration of a fixed medical leave period. In a couple recent lawsuits, the EEOC has arguedthe failure to provide additional leave upon the expiration of the leave allowed under anemployer’s “no fault” termination policy is a violation ofthe Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) because providing additional unpaid leave is a form of reasonable accommodation.For example, the EEOC instituted a class action against Sears alleging its leave policy violatedthe ADA because it called for termination if the employee was unable to return to work afterexhausting workers’ compensation leave. The lawsuit ended in a settlement with Searsagreeing to pay $6.2 million to resolve the claim—the largest ADA settlement agreement inhistory—and to amend its policy to notify injured employees at least 45 days before theirleaves are to expire that they can request accommodations to allow their return to work.

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