Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Aug 26, 2011

No fault attendance policy leads to $20 million EEOC settlement


Verizon Communications is paying big bucks to settle a class action disability discrimination lawsuit claiming that the company unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to employees while applying its no fault attendance policy. Under the companys no fault attendance policy, employees were charged with absences, regardless of the reason, and would be disciplined after hitting a certain number of chargeable absences. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Verizon refused to make exceptions to its policy when individuals were forced to miss work due to their disabilities. The EEOC objected to the application of the no fault attendance policy to individuals with disabilities because it did not provide any flexibility or attempt to reasonably accommodate the needs of individuals who needed to miss work due to their condition.

Tips: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to engage in the interactive process to make an attempt to reasonably accommodate an employees disability. See our Legal Guide, ADA: Reasonable Accommodation Quick Reference (4082). If a rigid company policy eliminates the possibility of an employee exploring reasonable accommodation options for a medical condition, then you may be violating the ADA. Pay close attention when disciplining an employee who has missed time due to a medical condition; call your Vigilant staff representative beforehand to make sure youre on safe ground before you proceed.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.