Friday, 8 October 2010

American Apparel Sued for Violation of Disability Act

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles-based American Apparel for violating provisions of the Americans with Disability Act. The lawsuit involves a cancer patient who was wrongfully terminated after going on medical leave for treatment.

According to the complaint which was filed in a Los Angeles court, the employee applied for medical leave because he had to undergo chemotherapy treatment for cancer. He claims his leave request was approved, and even supplied American Apparel the papers confirming the status of his treatment. When he completed treatment, he returned to work, and was informed that his services had been terminated.

The lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges that American Apparel violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by terminating the employee’s services because of his disability. The lawsuit seeks back pay and compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages. It also seeks injunctive relief to prevent discrimination on the grounds of disability. American Apparel has not commented on the lawsuit.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers in California and around the country are prevented from discriminating against employees based on disability or a perceived disability. Disabled employees must be provided access to facilities that can help them perform their jobs and employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, discrimination against persons with disabilities was rampant in the American workplace. There were few job opportunities open for those with any kind of disabilities, and almost no accommodation of these persons. There were no requirements in place for easier accessibility of workplaces, and there was nothing preventing employers from rejecting a highly qualified candidate purely on the basis of his disability. All that changed with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, California employment class action lawyers see that violations of the Act continue to occur with frequency.

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