A Salt Lake City-based grocery store chain will pay $832,500 to resolve a group of disability discrimination charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC’s investigation revealed a qualified individual with a disability and a group of other aggrieved individuals with medical conditions were denied reasonable accommodations to perform their jobs. These accommodations include additional leave, working with restrictions and reassignment. The investigation revealed a practice of disciplining and/or firing employees because of their need for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The store’s policies and procedures revealed a practice of denying reasonable accommodations under the ADA; requiring employees to have no restrictions or be 100% ready to return to work; denying leave as a reasonable accommodation; and refusing to provide reassignment to a vacant position as required by the ADA. These practices resulted in the termination or resignation of a group of qualified individuals with disabilities, the EEOC found.

On July 12, 2018 Associated Fresh Market, Inc. (AFM), owned wholly by Associated Retail Operations, Inc. (formerly known as Associated Retail Stores) agreed to pay a total of $75,000 to an employee to resolve his disability discrimination charge. In addition, AFM agreed to pay $757,500 to other aggrieved individuals identified by the EEOC during the investigation who were also adversely impacted by AFM’s policies and practices due to their medical conditions.

While denying it violated the ADA, AFM has acknowledged a need to improve in working with applicants and employees with disabilities. In addition to monetary payments to the discrimination victims, AFM agreed to make changes to its ADA policies and procedures and to conduct training for its human resources team as well as for all store directors, assistant store directors, and employees.

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