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Auto parts giant sued over wrongful termination

When faced with medical challenges, it can be difficult to continue working or in the same way as has been previously done. The law provides protection for those individuals who have medical challenges. The law requires employers to make accommodations for employees with medical challenges. But what if an employer fails to obey the law and then engages in employer retaliation when complaints are made?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a fourth lawsuit against AutoZone due to alleged disability discrimination. In this filing, the EEOC charges that from 2009 through 2011 there was an absentee point system in place with the company that provided no exceptions for absences due to disability. Any employee who accumulated 12 points was then terminated from employment with the company. The EEOC further alleges that this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

According to the EEOC, in a separate case, when another employee complained about the policy and then went to the EEOC about the issue, he was fired and retaliated against. Employee retaliation against employees, even after they are no longer employed with the company, is against the law. A previously filed disability and discrimination suit against the auto parts retailer resulted in a $415,000 award that was later upheld in a federal appeals court. Employees nationwide, including those in Indiana, may be affected by both lawsuits.

Though some may believe it human nature for an employer who has been complained against to have motive to retaliate, the law is clear that retaliatory acts such as termination for filing complaints are illegal. When an individual believes he has been subject to wrongful termination or is in some other way the victim of employee retaliation, he has the right to seek legal advice. A careful review of the circumstances that led up to the dismissal or retaliation may help reveal any possible violation of the law or employee rights. This can then lead to a discussion as to what legal remedies are available to the employee in regard to seeking justice.

Source: Business Insurance, “EEOC brings fourth disability discrimination suit against AutoZone,” Judy Greenwald, May 9, 2014

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