The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit against Pinnacle Airlines Inc. for $20,000 and significant injunctive relief on behalf of a clerk with arthritis who was allegedly fired for walking too slowly on the job. Pinnacle is a Memphis, Tenn.-based airlines carrier operating out of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.The EEOC’s suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Case No. 2:09-CV-13300) charged Pinnacle Airlines firing fired the recently hired Flight Operations Clerk because it believed arthritis in her left knee caused her to walk too slowly, despite her competent performance. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), prohibiting employment discrimination against people with disabilities.
An EEOC two-year consent decree resolving the case was signed by U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani. In addition to paying the former Flight Operations Clerk $20,000, the decree prohibits the airline from engaging in any employment practice discriminating against anyone on the basis of disability and from retaliating against employees who oppose discriminatory practices. The company also agreed to:
- Revise its policies and practices to comply with the ADA.
- Provide training to its Human Resource Department and all of its managers on disability discrimination.
- Post an EEOC approved Notice that informs employees how to contact the EEOC if they believe they have been discriminated against.
- Report any complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC during the term of the consent decree.
“Pinnacle Airlines should be applauded for working cooperatively with the EEOC in resolving this suit quickly and agreeing to measures that will help ensure similar situations do not reoccur,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Trek Carethers. “We are pleased with the terms of the consent decree and this company’s commitment to prevent disability discrimination going forward.”
Author Rebecca Shafer, J.D. President, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers’ Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. She can be contacted at: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
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