It seems fairly obvious – you expect your employees to show up to work and, therefore, it makes sense to track said attendance. However, strict attendance policies have run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the latest case is a gentle reminder of how these rules can land you in legal trouble.
Specifically, in the latest case, the EEOC charged Pactiv, an Illinois-based packing company, with disability discrimination after an investigation revealed that the company charged workers with “attendance points” for medical-related absences in line with its previously outlined corporate policy.
As part of its investigation, the EEOC charged that Pactiv discriminated against individuals with disabilities by disciplining and discharging them in accordance with their leave policy, including not allowing intermittent leave as a reasonable accommodation and not allowing leave or an extension of leave as a reasonable accommodation. The final parts of this policy – in that the company doesn’t consider leave or leave extensions– run in direct violation of the ADA as it does not constitute a reasonable accommodation for workers with disabilities.
In response to the claim, Pactiv opted to conciliate the matter with the EEOC and a class of individuals to avoid litigation. Per the terms of the deal, the company will pay a whopping $1.7 million as well as revise its ADA policy and procedures; design and distribute a new attendance policy and conduct ADA training at its various locations nationwide.