Time Warner Cable Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. agreed to pay $99,500 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed in Riverside by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced Thursday.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an employee requiring a leave of absence for surgery to remove a cancerous nodule from her thyroid was fired 10 days after the surgery and three weeks before she was set to return to work at Time Warner in Ontario.
The EEOC alleged that Time Warner violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide the employee a reasonable accommodation of leave for her disability and instead unlawfully terminated her despite knowing she had undergone potentially life-saving surgery to remove the cancerous nodule and was recovering.
The EEOC filed the suit two years ago after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, according to the agency.
In addition to monetary relief, the three-year consent decree, which remains under the court’s jurisdiction during the term of the decree, includes injunctive relief intended to prevent further workplace discrimination.
Charter Communications will review and revise its written policies to achieve compliance with the ADA, provide regular training to all employees regarding the ADA, maintain a log detailing accommodation requests and complaints and conduct regular audits, and oversee record-keeping and reporting requirements through a designated equal employment opportunity monitor, according to the EEOC.
The agency will monitor compliance with the terms of the agreement, which was approved by a federal judge in Riverside.
“Employers should recognize that leaves of absence may qualify as reasonable accommodations under the ADA,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “When assessing accommodation requests, employers need to ensure they are engaging in an effective interactive process.”
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