Printing Company Accused of Firing Capable Worker with Cancer

November 21, 2011 ( – Journal Disposition, the former operator of IPC Print Services, Inc. in St. Joseph, Michigan, has agreed to settle a disability discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $55,000.  

The lawsuit charged that Journal Disposition terminated a long-time employee who had been diagnosed with cancer because he exhausted his time under its short-term disability insurance policy. The policy provided 26 weeks of leave within a rolling 12-month period. Prior to the exhaustion of his leave, the employee returned to work, and began working part-time hours while he received chemotherapy. He was able to perform all the essential functions of his job, however, when his benefit was exhausted under the policy, the company summarily terminated him and made him eligible for rehire once he was able to work full-time.

According to the EEOC, at the time of the discharge, the employee made an accommodation request to continue working part-time until his chemotherapy ended five months later. The company acknowledged the request, but applied the policy without considering any other factors, such as his ability to perform the job, the reasonableness of his request or if the request provided an undue hardship to the company. The EEOC states this conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the terms of the consent decree, Journal Disposition will pay the employee $55,000. Since the employer no longer operated the facility, no other equitable relief was required.