Supervalu/Jewel-Osco Settles ADA Suit By EEOC

Supervalu, Inc., American Drug Stores LLC, and Jewel Food Stores, Inc. (collectively referred to as “Jewel-Osco”) will pay $3.2 million and undertake extensive remedial relief to settle what the EEOC considers an overly rigid and illegal disability leave policy.

According to the EEOC, Jewel-Osco violated the ADA in a number of ways. For example, the company had a policy and practice of terminating employees with disabilities at the end of medical leave rather than returning them to work with reasonable accommodations. Also, it required employees to be at 100 percent prior to considering them for return to work.
Jewel-Osco’s remedial measures will include training employees on the ADA and revising job descriptions to ensure that the physical requirements for each job are accurate. The company will also ensure that it has recommendations available for possible accommodations for common work restrictions.

This is the second case of this type pursed by the EEOC in Chicago. In February of 2010, a federal judge approved a $6.2 million settlement involving Sears Roebuck & Co. In that case the EEOC also alleged that Sears maintained an inflexible leave policy which called for terminating employees after they had exhausted their workers’ compensation rights, and that Sears had never offered employees reasonable accommodations that would have returned them to work.