Washington, DC: A $2 million settlement has been reached in an employment class action lawsuit pending against department store chain Dillard's Inc. The lawsuit contends that the retailer is in violation of federal disability laws by requiring workers seeking sick leave to disclose private medical conditions.
Dillards is under investigation by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for firing a worker in El Centro in Southern California’s Imperial Count. The worker alleged she was fired in 2006 after refusing to reveal her exact medical problems to a manager who would not accept her doctor's note when she requested sick leave.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the EEOC alleges that in 2005 Dillard's implemented a nationwide policy requiring those asking for excused absences for illness to not only give a doctor's note but also disclose the medical condition they were being treated for. This affected thousands of workers, the EEOC claims, and is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is meant to protect workers from being forced to disclose private medical information.
The EEOC has said it also investigated complaints that Dillard's fired workers for taking more sick leave than the maximum number of days allowed by the retailer, which also violates federal disability discrimination laws.
As part of the settlement, Dillard's has also agreed to hire a consultant to review and revise its employment policy.