Eden Prairie Company employee fired due to disability, federal agency charged
MINNEAPOLIS – Employer Solutions Group, LLC (ESG), a payroll services company operating in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has agreed to pay $ 95,000 to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Commission for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC lawsuit accused ESG of firing an employee because she told the company she had to use crutches following surgery related to a knee injury. When the employee attempted to return to work after approved medical leave, ESG claimed she needed to be 100% cured before returning to work and cited her need for “ambulatory assistance” upon her termination, according to the lawsuit.
Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which makes it illegal to terminate or otherwise discriminate against an employee because of a disability or perceived disability. The ADA also makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee who requests accommodation or opposes discrimination.
The EEOC brought an action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Employer Solutions Group, LLC., Civil Action No. 19-cv-02315 (NEB / TNL)) after it first tried to get a prior agreement. settlement of disputes through its conciliation process.
The settlement follows a court ruling on Aug. 13 dismissing ESG’s summary judgment motion and finding evidence against ESG warrants a trial. ESG agreed to settle the case after the ruling.
In addition to monetary relief, the three-year consent decree signed by United States District Court Judge Nancy E. Brasel requires ESG to eliminate any policy or practice requiring individuals to be released without restrictions. or 100% cured to be able to work. The consent decree also requires training on the ADA for management and other employees and requires ESG to report to the EEOC any other complaints of discrimination based on disability during the term of the decree.
“Employers cannot make employment decisions based on speculation about an employee’s disability,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the Chicago District of the EEOC. “All employees, including people with physical disabilities, have the right to be assessed on their ability to do the job. “
Julianne Bowman, Chicago District Director of the EEOC, added: “As in this case, policies that require an employee to be 100% cured before returning to work are inconsistent with the requirement to reasonable accommodation of the ADA, and the EEOC will prosecute such violations when they occur.
The Chicago District Office is responsible for handling charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and litigation in Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, with offices area in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC advances opportunities in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.