Employer Could Be Required To Provide Leave to Recover from Surgery as a Reasonable Accommodation

     The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed a lawsuit against Spencer’s Gifts, LLC, a novelty gift store, alleging that the company discriminated against one of its employees by refusing to grant her a reasonable leave due to her disability.  The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that the store manager suffered from a disability called Marfan Syndrome.  Requiring surgery for her disability, she informed the company in December 2016 that she would need this surgery as well as four to six weeks of leave to recover.  The EEOC claims that Spencer’s refused to grant the leave and refused to provide the store manager with a reasonable accommodation.  The EEOC further alleges that Spencer’s fired her in January 2017 after her short-term disability benefits were exhausted.  Such alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination by an employer against an employee on the basis of the employee’s disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees.  See EEOC v. Spencer Gifts, LLC,  No. 5:18-cv-00155 (W.D.N.C.)

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