7-11, the nationally recognized convenience store, is being sued by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for disability discrimination. EEOC v. Brown-Thompson d/b/a 7-Eleven is a case that sheds some light on disability discrimination. Casey Crothers was a disabled employee at a 7-11 distribution center, which forced him to take on a different role. 7-11 in response decided to fire him. The EEOC brings a claim of disability discrimination, alleging the termination violates the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC seeks back pay along with both compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief to prevent the convenience store from committing any future disability discrimination.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA is a federally recognized labor law that prohibits unjustified discrimination based on disability. Crothers was a stocker at a distribution center. He wanted to be transferred due to restrictions that would prevent him from staying in the position. This transfer would keep away from the job for three days and 7-11 decided to terminate him on this ground.
The EEOC claims that under the Family and Medical Leave Act, there was justification for the leave. His disability prevented him from staying on and had to be transferred and needed the three days for the transfer to take place. 7-11 has seemingly discriminated against Crothers because of his disability. Where leave is a reasonable accommodation for a medical condition covered by the ADA, an employer must provide it.
This applies to the Crothers case here. There is no undue hardship on the employer to allow for Crothers to take three days off so that he could transition into a role that is more suitable for him. The point of ADA and these other agencies that aim to protect disabled individuals is to give them certain flexibilities and such a scenario would warrant being flexible.
Of course, not all acts against disabled individuals are immediately a concern for ADA regulation. On the contrary, there are numerous occasions where disabled individuals must be let go for well-justified reasons. For instance, if the individual is taking off too many days or is simply unfit to do the job under any circumstance, this is valid grounds for termination without legal action. There has to be some evidence that actual discrimination has taken place. Big companies with surplus cash are often targeted for discrimination and many of these claims are meritless. Actual or circumstantial evidence should be given by plaintiff to show that they were terminated or mistreated for their disability in accordance with ADA standards. Otherwise, exploitation of the system will take place putting the legal system in disarray, giving these people who claim discrimination certain advantages that might be unwarranted.
Disability discrimination is quite prevalent in the U.S. and most of it goes unnoticed. At the same time, there have been far too many baseless claims of discrimination. A line needs to be drawn as to what constitutes discrimination and up until now, the ADA has not always done the best job in enforcing this. Until the ADA and other like agencies become more clear in their goals, such claims will keep arising and simultaneously many cases will be ignored.
Authored by Sam Behbehani, LegalMatch Legal Writer