Disability discrimination lawsuit filed by EEOC against Kroger settled

Kroger settles EEOC lawsuit for alleged ADA violation and what you need to know about your workers’ compensation rights in Michigan.

Kroger Company of Michigan has settled a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to the EEOC, Kroger fired an employee at its Howell, MI store when it discovered that her restrictions were permanent. She was initially hired as a stock person but was given a cashier job as a reasonable accommodation after getting hurt on-the-job.

She will receive $33,000 for the ADA claim and $49,000 under workers’ compensation. The settlement also requires Kroger to provide better ADA training and report back to the EEOC.

We find this settlement fascinating as it illustrates the relationship between Michigan workers’ compensation and federal law. Many of our clients find themselves in a similar predicament and do not know where to turn for help.

Workers’ compensation is supposed to pay 80% of the after-tax average weekly wage when an employee is unable to work. Employers can avoid paying these wage loss benefits if they provide a new job within restrictions. This is called “reasonable employment” or “favored work.”

Federal law also prohibits employers from refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities. According to the EEOC, employers must always consider whether it can make an accommodation before downgrading or firing employees.

Our experience shows that bad employers use reasonable employment as a tool to get people to quit. We have seen employees forced to watch paint dry or guard an empty parking lot. If a person does not show up for work, he or she forfeits wage loss benefits.

It is illegal to retaliate or discriminate against someone who seeks workers’ compensation benefits in Michigan. We recommend speaking with an experienced attorney to make sure all possible state and federal claims are protected.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

Can I be fired while on workers compensation?

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by FolsomNatural.

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