The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and Pinnacle Airlines recently settled a lawsuit against the airline for disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). According to the EEOC, the airline terminated Vickie Cowie because she walked too slowly. A short time after commencing her employment with the airline as an administrative employee, working primarily behind a desk, Ms. Cowie saw her doctor about pain in her knee. Her physician diagnosed her with arthritis. Cowie continued working and performed her job competently, despite the fact that the arthritis caused her to walk with a limp and use a cane. The EEOC filed suit on Ms. Cowie’s behalf, alleging that the airline terminated her because the pace of her gait was too slow.
Rather than trying the case in court, the airline agreed to enter a public settlement agreement. As a part of the agreement, the airline paid Ms. Cowie $20,000 and agreed to reform its human resources policies and procedures.
Employees who are treated unfairly because of their disabilities should contact an employment lawyer immediately and file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the adverse treatment.