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Dillard's violates ADA; to pay $2 million discrimination settlement

Louisiana employees who have had to take a sick day because of illness would most likely rather be working than dealing with being sick. Given the potentially sensitive nature of individual illnesses, an employee should not be required to give intimate details regarding the reasons behind an illness that causes them to call in sick. Occasionally one may be asked to bring in a doctor's note, but the employer is prohibited from seeking personal and confidential information regarding medical conditions.

Recently, the retail store Dillard's Inc. is being forced to pay $2 million in order to settle charges that it had illegally demanded that workers who would take sick leave reveal their personal and confidential medical information. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that the settlement was reached and was the result of a 4-year class-action suit that alleged that Dillard's violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and employee rights.

Employees of Dillards were reportedly required to submit a doctor's note with in-depth reasoning for their sickness and treatment. If workers did not submit the required information, employees were fired. The EEOC took the position that employers should not be permitted to ask for treatment information from an employee except in the instance of a job-related injury or in the course of business. However, Dillard employees were forced to disclose information regarding mental illnesses, cancer and gynecological issues.

Under the ADA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities. Additionally, employers are not allowed under the law to retaliate against employees who speak out or complain about any discrimination on the basis of their disabilities. Moreover, employees cannot be asked about a disability.

Documenting the incidents, dates and individuals involved is essential to a successful outcome in these types of claims. An attorney can evaluate your case as well as provide advice regarding what steps to take next.

Source: MercuryNews.com, "Dillard's pays $2M to settle discrimination claims" Dec. 18, 2012

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