Unlawful employment discrimination can take many forms. Employees can suffer discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin; sex, gender identity or sexual orientation; religion or creed; and age. Discrimination also can be based on a physical or mental disability, a class protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
Recently, a cashier was awarded over $275,000 in a lawsuit against Dollar General Stores for alleged discrimination due to their failure to provide an accommodation required under the ADA. The case dates back to 2014, when a store manager refused to allow an insulin-dependent employee to keep a juice by her register to treat hypoglycemia. Subsequently, the employee was fired after she hurriedly consumed a store beverage before purchasing it in order to stave off a hypoglycemic attack.
After the woman complained to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), they filed suit against the company alleging discrimination. A federal jury agreed and awarded the cashier $27,565 in back pay and $250,000 in compensatory damages.
Apparently, the whole costly affair boiled down to poor training. The company did, in fact, have a policy that would have allowed the accommodation in the first place, however, the employees and the management were completely ignorant to the company policy.
Although the EEOC was pleased with the outcome of the trial, they still expect to see more employers fail to train employees on the basic requirements under the ADA or provide training to prevent other forms of discrimination in the workplace. As a result, employees will continue to suffer discrimination on the job, including harassment, retaliation and sometimes wrongful termination.
If you have suffered discrimination in your Iowa workplace, contact Des Moines employment discrimination attorney Marc Humphrey for help. Marc is known throughout Iowa for his relentless pursuit of justice if you have been fired or mistreated on the job because of your age, gender, religion or if you have been subjected to racial discrimination, disability discrimination or any other form of unlawful employment discrimination. Call our offices today at 515-331-3510 or contact Marc via email for a free confidential consultation.
Source: The Washington Post, “A diabetic gets fired over a $1.69 (plus tax) drink and Dollar General must now pay her $277,656”, by Gene Marks, September 24, 2016.