EEOC Settles with Verizon for Lack of ADA Accommodation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has settled with Verizon for $20 million for failing to accommodate employees with disabilities by taking adverse employment action against them under their “no fault” attendance policy. Under the policy, the company made no exceptions for absences, even if those absences were caused by employees’ disabilities. The settlement is pending in court, but could be the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history.

While court decisions have found that attendance is an essential function of most jobs, employers must ensure that their attendance policies do not violate the ADA. Businesses don’t have to tolerate employees who are unable to perform essential job functions, but they may have to allow flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and work absences that would constitute a reasonable accommodation.