Employers Should Provide Reasonable Time Off to Employees with Disabilities

            The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit against Whole Foods, in which the EEOC alleges that the company discriminated against a disabled employee by refusing to provide an accommodation and then terminating her employment.  Butler, who was a cashier, suffers from polycystic kidney disease, which can cause the growth of cysts in the kidneys and could lead to kidney failure.  The lawsuit alleges that Butler required a kidney transplant, which forced her to miss work on two occasions for hospitalization and doctor’s visits.  The EEOC claims that Butler informed Whole Foods that she would need time off for treatment, but Whole Foods still terminated her employment for absences. Such alleged conduct is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The ADA prohibits discrimination against employees because of their disability and further requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for disabilities.  See Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., No. 5:17-cv-00494-FL (W.D.N.C.).

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