Most places of employment in Colorado offer employees a limited amount of absence from work to heal from workplace injuries, sickness or other personal reasons. If someone wishes to return to work but has limited physical abilities, the American with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to transition the employee back on the job. Ninety employees of UPS did not believe their company made strong enough efforts to accommodate disabled employees and filed a disability discrimination lawsuit. UPS recently settled the lawsuit for $2 million.
The lawsuit began after a veteran employee felt she was fired due to her disability. She worked for UPS in an administrative role for 17 years, and she suffered from multiple sclerosis. Due to her illness, she took the allowed 12-month leave to heal and recover. At the end of her 12 month leave, she requested accommodations to return to work, including a piece of equipment to aid in walking. The woman claimed that her walking aid was denied as well as any other additional amount of leave.
The lawsuit also accused UPS of firing anyone whose leave extended beyond their 12 month limit. Considering some employees suffer injuries or illnesses that do not end within a specific timeframe, it is believed that UPS should offer some flexibility. Accusations were made that UPS was using the limited amount of leave as a way to prevent disabled employees from returning to work. In addition to settling with the 90 employees, UPS agreed to review and change their policies to accommodate disabled persons.
When Colorado residents are injured at work or suffer an illness on the job, they do not want to be anxious about maintaining their employment status, particularly when issues arise concerning time off work to heal and any accommodations necessary pursuant to the ADA. Medical expenses can accumulate quickly, and handling them without income can be stressful. Any employee who feels they have been wrongly fired can seek the advice of a Colorado attorney regarding their option to file a disability discrimination lawsuit.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "UPS agrees to $2 million settlement in disability discrimination lawsuit", Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Aug. 8, 2017