Sears, Roebuck and Co, commonly referred to as Sears settled a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") based on the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") for $6.2 million and significant remedial relief. According to the lawsuit Sears maintained an inflexible workers' compensation leave exhaustion policy and terminated employees instead of providing them with reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, in violation of the ADA.
Discovery showed that hundreds of employees who had taken workers' compensation leave were terminated by Sears without seriously considering reasonable accommodations to return them to work while they were on leave, or seriously considering whether a brief extension of their leave would make their return possible. All of this was in violation of the ADA.
"The era of employers being able to inflexibly and universally apply a leave limits policy without seriously considering the reasonable accommodation requirements of the ADA are over," EEOC attorney Hendrickson said.