The EEOC lawsuit, which was filed in June 2003, alleged that DuPont violated the ADA by requiring employee Laura Barrios, who has severe physical impairments, to take a physical capacity exam that was not related to her job, HR.BLR.com reported. Although Barrios passed the test – which focused on, among other things, strength, endurance, and climbing skills – the company later used the results as a pretext to assert that she was not able to evacuate the plant in a case of emergency.
Barrios was subsequently forced onto short term disability leave, followed by permanent disability retirement. This terminated her employment, according to the EEOC. The organization, which oversees compliance with the ADA, stated that despite her impairments, Barrios was able to perform essential functions of her job, and thus was discriminated against.
The jury, following a two and one-half day trial, award the former employee $1 million in punitive damages, $200,000 in front pay, and $91,000 in back pay, according to HR.BLR.com.