A 2008 class action ADA lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Dillard’s, one of the US’s largest fashion apparel, cosmetics and home furnishings retailers, was just settled for $2 million. The suit contested Dillard’s policy and practice of requiring employees to disclose the exact nature of their medical conditions to be approved for sick leave, and firing them in retaliation if they refused to do so. The federal court had ruled earlier in favor of the EEOC’s contention that this policy violated the ADA’s prohibition against employers making inquiries into employees’ disabilities unless job-related and necessary for the conduct of business.
The EEOC also claimed that Dillard’s violated the ADA by its maximum health-related leave policy irrespective of the nature of an employee’s possible disability and without regularly engaging in an interactive process with the employee to determine if the employee required more leave as an accommodation.
We noted last month that the EEOC was targeting ADA issues, especially on a class basis, and this latest settlement shows that the EEOC is serious about its agenda, and has now freed up resources for further such lawsuits.