Inflexible Leave Policies Could Be Illegal

     The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against a non-profit blood bank in which the EEOC had alleged that the company’s FMLA policy violated federal discrimination laws.  The EEOC’s lawsuit claimed that the company had a policy wherein the company would not provide disabled employees with leave after the federally mandated twelve weeks, and that the company required employees to return to work with no restrictions.  The EEOC further alleged that the company had fired employees who could not return to work without restrictions or who had used all of their medical leave.  This alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The ADA requires that employers not discriminate against disabled employees and make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.  Indeed, the EEOC has listed inflexible leave policies as one of six areas that it wants to address in its Strategic Enforcement Plan.  See U.S. EEOC v. Blood Bank of Hawaii, No. 1:17-cv-00444-HG-WRP (D. Haw.).

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