Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A Los Angeles federal judge Friday approved an $8.6 million settlement in a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit accusing home improvement retailer Lowe’s of illegally firing workers who went on medical leave for a long period.

The settlement resolves the EEOC’s claims that Lowe’s violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by terminating employees whose medical leaves exceeded the company’s 180- or 240-day maximum leave policy, according to federal employment regulators.

The settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte, requires Lowe’s to retain consultants to oversee its leave policies and track requests for accommodations.

Lowe’s — which denied wrongdoing — also agreed to improve employee training.

“This settlement sends a clear message to employers that policies that limit the amount of leave may violate the ADA when they call for the automatic firing of employees with a disability after they reach a rigid, inflexible leave limit,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “We hope that our efforts here will encourage employers to voluntarily comply with the ADA.”

According to company information, Lowe’s, a Fortune 50 company headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, operates more than 1,840 home improvement and hardware stores across North America. In 2014, company revenues totaled $56.2 billion.

–City News Service

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