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Verizon and IC - Historic ADA settlement

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  • Verizon and IC - Historic ADA settlement

    I HAVE to share this news! I have been working and providing support to an IC patient who has been working with Verizon for years. A victim of terrible discrimination for more than a decade because of his IC, he was routinely harassed, degraded, insulted and basically taunted by his supervisors for needing to use the restroom and for asking for accommodation for IC. I am absolutely thrilled to see that he, and many other disabled employees, have been vindicated by this settlement. I hope to do a much bigger story on this soon! Woot! - Jill


    PRESS RELEASE
    7-6-11

    Verizon to Pay $20 Million to Settle Nationwide EEOC Disability Suit
    Largest ADA Settlement in EEOC History for Hundreds of Employees
    Terminated or Disciplined Based on Rigid Attendance Policy


    BALTIMORE – Telecommunications giant Verizon Communications will pay $20 million and provide significant equitable relief to resolve a nationwide class disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The suit, filed against 24 named subsidiaries of Verizon Communications, said the company unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees and disciplined and/or fired them pursuant to Verizon’s “no fault” attendance plans.
    The consent decree settling the suit, which is pending judicial approval, represents the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history. The EEOC charged that Verizon violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to make exceptions to its “no fault” attendance plans to accommodate employees with disabilities. Under the challenged attendance plans, if an employee accumulated a designated number of “chargeable absences,” Verizon placed the employee on a disciplinary step which could ultimately result in more serious disciplinary consequences, including termination.
    The EEOC asserted that Verizon failed to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, such as making an exception to its attendance plans for individuals whose “chargeable absences” were caused by their disabilities. Instead, the EEOC said, the company disciplined or terminated employees who needed such accommodations.

    The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability. The law also requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation, such as paid or unpaid leave, to an employee with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer.

    “Flexibility on leave can enable a worker with a disability to remain employed and productive -- a win for the worker, the employer and the economy,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “By contrast, an inflexible leave policy may deny workers with disabilities a reasonable accommodation to which they’re entitled by law – with devastating effects.” Chair Berrien presided over a Commission meeting earlier this month on leave as a reasonable accommodation.

    "I am pleased the parties were able to resolve this historic case without resorting to prolonged and expensive litigation," said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. "Hopefully this nationwide decree will further public awareness of the importance of engaging in an individualized interactive process to determine whether a disabled employee must be accommodated under the ADA."

    The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Civil Action No. 1-11-cv-01832-JKB, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC filed its lawsuit and the proposed consent decree resolving the suit on the same day. The consent decree resolves the EEOC’s lawsuit, an EEOC Commissioner charge, a charge filed by the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, and over 40 individual charges filed with the EEOC. The investigation involved coordinated systemic efforts by EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office and Newark Area Office.
    “This settlement demonstrates the need for employers to have attendance policies which take into account the need for paid or unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities,” said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., Director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
    In addition to the $20 million in monetary relief, the three-year decree includes injunctions against engaging in any discrimination or retaliation based on disability, and requires the company to revise its attendance plans, policies and ADA policy to include reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, including excusing certain absences. Verizon will provide mandatory periodic training on the ADA to employees primarily responsible for administering Verizon’s attendance plans. The company will report to the EEOC about all employee complaints of disability discrimination relating to the attendance policy and about Verizon’s compliance with the consent decree. The company also agreed to post a notice about the settlement. Finally, Verizon will appoint an internal consent decree monitor to ensure its compliance. The settlement applies to certain Verizon wireline operations nationwide which employ union-represented employees.

    EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence said, “This consent decree is the result of productive and thoughtful negotiations with Verizon. We appreciate Verizon working with the EEOC to reach a settlement. In addition to providing meaningful monetary relief for hundreds of former Verizon employees, the settlement contains important equitable relief, including company policy changes and training designed to provide people with disabilities equal opportunities in the workplace.”
    According to its website, www.verizon.com, Verizon Communications Inc., headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon has more than 196,000 employees and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.

    In fiscal year 2010, private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the EEOC hit an unprecedented level of 99,922, which included a record-high number of disability charges (25,165) – an increase of 17.3 percent in disability charges over the prior fiscal year.

    The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
    Would you like to talk with someone about your IC struggles? The ICN now offers personal coaching sessions that include myself, Julie Beyer RD on the diet and Dr. Heather Howard on Sexuality. http://www.icnsales.com/icn-personal-coaching/

    Looking for books, magazines & reports on IC? Please visit the ICN Shop at: http://www.icnsales.com: Your ICN subscription & purchases in our shop support these message boards, chats and special events. BECOME AN ICN ANGEL TODAY!

    Please remember that the information on the ICN is provided with the understanding that ICN, its founder, staff, volunteers, and participants are not engaged in rendering medical or professional medical services. We cannot and do not give medical advice. Only your personal physician can do this for you.







  • #2
    Good Job Jill, I was told last week that I've been missing alot of work to attend PT and go to doctor visits. I was diagnosed in March and have only taking 2 full days and have left 2 times weekly an hour early to have PT. Other than vacations I've not missed any other days in 4 years, so I was not happen with the comment.
    IC diagnosis 3 weeks ago.
    Vesicare 10 mg once daily
    IBS and Gerd-Zegerid
    IC diet
    Elmiron 100 mg three daily
    Hydroxyzine 25 mg at night
    Amitriptyline 10mg at night
    Diovan 60/12.5 daily
    Topral 50 mg daily
    Zoloft 100 mg at night
    Klonopin .5 twice daily

    Comment


    • #3
      greeneyes, i can't speak for those involved in the Verizon case, but in your case... have you considered filing FMLA with your employer? If you notify them that you have a serious medical condition that will cause you to miss work, they have to provide you with a certification form to have your Dr fill out stating how often and under what circumstances you will miss work. For example, my FMLA allows me to miss work 1-3 days 2-4 times a month for my IC. Then those absences are protected and I can't be penalized for them. Maybe that would work for you.
      A note... you have to have been employed full-time for a year to use FMLA.
      Hope this helps
      Renee

      Jill, did FMLA not protect the people involved in the Verizon case?

      Comment


      • #4
        Some huge companies feel they have a right to make their own rules --- it's a huge victory when one of them learns that the rules apply to everyone.

        I hope the settlement is enough to reimburse the employees who suffered losses.

        Donna
        Stay safe


        Elmiron Eye Disease Information Center - https://www.ic-network.com/elmiron-p...mation-center/
        Elmiron Eye Disease Fact Sheet (Downloadable) - https://www.ic-network.com/wp-conten...nFactSheet.pdf

        Have you checked the ICN Shop?
        Click on ICN Shop at the top of this page. You'll find Bladder Builder and Bladder Rest, both of which we are finding have excellent results.

        Patient Help: http://www.ic-network.com/patientlinks.html

        Sub-types https://www.ic-network.com/five-pote...markably-well/

        Diet list: https://www.ic-network.com/interstitial-cystitis-diet/

        AUA Guidelines: https://www.ic-network.com/aua-guide...tial-cystitis/

        I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.
        [3MG]

        Anyone who says something is foolproof hasn't met a determined fool

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ReneeWest View Post
          greeneyes, i can't speak for those involved in the Verizon case, but in your case... have you considered filing FMLA with your employer? If you notify them that you have a serious medical condition that will cause you to miss work, they have to provide you with a certification form to have your Dr fill out stating how often and under what circumstances you will miss work. For example, my FMLA allows me to miss work 1-3 days 2-4 times a month for my IC. Then those absences are protected and I can't be penalized for them. Maybe that would work for you.
          A note... you have to have been employed full-time for a year to use FMLA.
          Hope this helps
          Renee

          Jill, did FMLA not protect the people involved in the Verizon case?
          Thanks Renee I have an appointment with my Uro Monday I will speak to him about this.
          IC diagnosis 3 weeks ago.
          Vesicare 10 mg once daily
          IBS and Gerd-Zegerid
          IC diet
          Elmiron 100 mg three daily
          Hydroxyzine 25 mg at night
          Amitriptyline 10mg at night
          Diovan 60/12.5 daily
          Topral 50 mg daily
          Zoloft 100 mg at night
          Klonopin .5 twice daily

          Comment

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