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Medtronic to Pay $75,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

May 27, 2020
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Medical Device Manufacturer Fired Temporary Employee for Absences Related to Disability, Federal Agency Charged

Medtronic, Inc., a Minneapolis-based company that develops and manufactures medical devices, will pay $75,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Medtronic violated federal law when it fired a temporary employee from its Greenwood, [South Carolina] facility because of her disability-related absences. The EEOC further charged that Medtronic failed to provide a reasonable accommodation to the employee and refused to hire her into a permanent position because of her disability.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a staffing agency assigned the employee to a temporary position at Medtronic’s Greenwood facility as a forklift driver and waste hauler. The employee, who was born with one kidney and an under-formed bladder, missed a few days of work due to health issues caused by her disability. The EEOC said that the employee returned to work and presented a doctor’s note. Medtronic claimed she was in violation of its attendance policy and terminated her assignment at the end of her shift. The EEOC further alleged Medtronic did not hire the employee permanently because of her disability, despite having started the process of doing so.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discharging qualified individuals with disabilities. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina (EEOC v. Medtronic, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:19-cv-02100-HMH-TER) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit requires that Medtronic maintain and distribute a workplace accommodations policy; provide ADA training to all staff responsible for implementing Medtronic’s attendance and leave policies; and provide the EEOC with periodic reports during the decree’s duration.

“We are pleased that Medtronic has agreed to educate its workforce about the requirements of the ADA and its application to temporary and permanent employees,” said Kara Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “The EEOC is here to protect the rights of employees with disabilities.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

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