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45 Years of Impact Spotlight

Fighting Against Discriminatory Employment Practices

DRP has likewise worked to enforce the ADA’s and RA’s protections by challenging discriminatory employment practices.

For instance, DRP’s predecessor and private co-counsel filed Warnes v. Giant Eagle, Inc., on behalf of a man with intellectual disability who was fired from his job at a supermarket because he ate a doughnut from a display table in violation of the employer’s “zero-tolerance” no-theft policy. The suit alleged that the employer violated the ADA by, among other things, failing to provide the plaintiff with a reasonable accommodation for his disability, especially given the minor nature of the incident. The case went to trial, and the jury found that the employer was liable for violating the ADA by failing to accommodate him. Shortly before testimony on damages was to conclude, the parties reached a confidential settlement.

In May 2003, DRP’s predecessor, with co-counsel, filed Taylor v. USF-Red Star, on behalf of a man with a seizure disorder whose employer refused to re-assign him to an available position for which he was qualified after his disability precluded him from his position as a tractor-trailer driver. DRP’s predecessor represented the client before the EEOC, which issued a finding of discrimination, based on the employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation and wrongful termination. After the EEOC issued its finding, the employer agreed to reinstate our client, but disagreement remained on issues of backpay, back benefits, and damages. DRP’s predecessor filed a lawsuit, and following a five-day trial, the jury found the employer had regarded our client as a person with a disability and discriminated against him on the basis of his perceived disability. The jury awarded $158,000 in back pay, back benefits, and compensatory damages. After the employer’s appeals were exhausted, it paid our client the jury verdict plus post-judgment interest.

In McGrenaghan v. St. Denis School Dist., DRP filed an ADA and Title VII employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a teacher whose employer did not allow her to return to teach full-time after she gave birth to a child with disabilities on the basis that she should remain home with her child. After the court rejected the defendants’ summary judgment motion, they agreed to resolve the case. The settlement resulted in the reinstatement of our client to a full-time position, a formal apology, and payment of significant damages.

In Teat v. City of Philadelphia, DRP filed an ADA lawsuit to challenge the City’s decision to retract a conditional offer of employment for a social work position made to a person who is blind. The parties settled the case, requiring the City to hire our client and provide her with reasonable accommodations.

In Leonard v. Devereux Foundation, DRP filed an EEOC complaint on behalf of a man with epilepsy who worked as a recreational counselor. The man had neurosurgery related to his disability and requested that he not be required to work with clients with behavioral issues until he was fully recovered to avoid head injuries. His employer refused to accommodate him and terminated him. The EEOC issued a finding of discrimination, and the parties subsequently negotiated a settlement that provided our client with back pay, front pay, and compensatory damages.

In Love v. Dep’t of Veterans’ Affairs, DRP filed an administrative complaint under Section 504 of the RA on behalf of a man with a visual disability who needed reasonable accommodations to perform his job at a VA medical center. The EEO’s investigator determined that discrimination had occurred. Following that determination, the parties entered into a settlement agreement that required the VA to provide the client with reasonable accommodations and training in a new position that he had accepted.