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Value Village Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination
May 3, 2018
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Thrift Store Rejected Repeated Requests for Reasonable Accommodations for Employee With COPD and Emphysema, Federal Agency Charges
Two Peaches Group, LLC, d/b/a Value Village, a for-profit thrift store operating five locations in Atlanta, Georgia, violated federal law when it failed to accommodate an employee’s requests for accommodation due to her disabling medical condition and forced her to resign from her employment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.
According to the EEOC’s suit, beginning in or around January 2016, Marjorie Clark, a stocker, requested that Value Village allow her to wear an oxygen backpack at work to treat her symptoms of [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)] and emphysema. However, Value Village’s management continuously denied her requests. Over time, Clark’s symptoms continued to worsen, so she requested a transfer to a less strenuous position. Clark’s request for a transfer was also denied. On June 5, 2017, Clark decided to resign from her position after being hospitalized, citing Value Village’s denial of her accommodation requests had compromised her health.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Two Peaches Group, LLC, d/b/a Value Village,Civil Action No. 1:18-CV-1916-WSD-JCF) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division. The EEOC is seeking back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Clark, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.
"Employers have a legal duty to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities that enable them to perform the essential functions of their job," said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. Value Village’s refusal to accommodate Clark prevented her from continuing to do the job she had done for over eleven years and compromised her health."
Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director of the Atlanta office, said, "An employer should never dismiss an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation for his/her disability. The appropriate accommodation is best determined through an interactive process that involves both the employer and the employee who has a disability."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.
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