Employers should be aware that the EEOC has taken the position that leave policies under which an employee’s employment is automatically terminated after a set number of days, or months, violate the ADA.
Case in point: the EEOC sued Lowes last year for violating the ADA by failing to provide leave as an accommodation to disabled employees. Lowes maintained a policy under which any employee who was absent for 180 (and later 240) days was automatically terminated. Lowes settled for a whopping $8.6 million dollars.
Just this month, the EEOC announced that it had settled a similar suit against UPS for $2 million dollars. UPS had maintained a policy with a maximum of 12 months leave.
So, what is an employer to do? Many cases will also involve workers compensation and FMLA. These are not easy determinations to make, and each case must be looked at on an individual basis to determine whether granting an employee additional leave as a form of accommodation might be required under the ADA. AHEAD’s human resource experts can assist with that.