Hardware giant Lowe’s entered into an agreement to settle a nationwide lawsuit alleging violations of the ADA and a pattern and practice of discrimination against individuals with disabilities for $8.6M, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. According to the suit, Lowe’s fired employees with disabilities and failed to provide them with reasonable accommodations when their medical leaves of absence exceeded Lowe’s maximum leave policy.
The EEOC also charged that Lowe’s violated the ADA by terminating individuals who were “regarded as” disabled, had a record of disability, and/or were associated with someone with a disability.
In addition to the monetary payout, Lowes agreed to retain an ADA consultant, implement training for staff, and develop a tracking system for accommodation requests, among other things.
“This settlement sends a clear message to employers that policies that limit the amount of leave may violate the ADA when they call for the automatic firing of employees with a disability after they reach a rigid, inflexible leave limit,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “We hope that our efforts here will encourage employers to voluntarily comply with the ADA.”
Lowe’s is a Fortune 50 company headquartered in Mooresville, N.C. and operates more than 1,840 home improvement and hardware stores across North America. In 2014, company revenues totaled $56.2 billion.