Supervalu Inc., the corporate parent, of the supermarket chain Jewel-Osco has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by former employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The parent of Jewel-Osco has agreed to pay $3.2 million for allegedly discriminating against employees with disabilities.
The federal lawsuit was filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and alleged that employees of the Chicagoland supermarket were fired at the end of medical leaves instead of allowing workers to return to their jobs with reasonable accommodations. Since 2003, around 1,000 employees were fired from Jewel-Osco stores under the same store policy according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Of the 1,000 employees, 110 workers will receive an award because many of the employees that were fired did not participate in the suit or other employees did not fit legal standards to be a part of the suit.
Each worker that is represented in the settlement will receive awards of $29,000. One worker, who was fired under the store's policy, said that she injured her back while lifting boxes of chicken at the store. The worker's doctor advised her not to lift anything over 20 pounds. The woman went back to work but the store did not accommodate the woman's ability to lift. The worker reinjured her back because of the lack of accommodation and was fired one year later. A regional attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act allows workers with disabilities to be productive members of the workforce.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Jewel Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for $3.2 Million," Francine Knowles, 1/6/11