United Settles EEOC Suit over ADA Violation Charges

December 21, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – United Airlines has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to allow employees with disabilities to work reduced schedules.

A news release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in addition to paying $600,000 to a group of reservation agents with disabilities, United will end its blanket policy against reduced hourly schedules and provide training to staffers who administer United’s reasonable accommodation process, according to the settlement of EEOC’s lawsuit against United (see United Airlines Sued for Disability Discrimination). 

According to the EEOC, before 2003, United had permitted reservations sales and service representatives to work reduced hourly schedules as an accommodation for employees’ various disabilities, including multiple sclerosis, DeQuervain’s tendonitis and carpal tunnel, and myasthenia gravis (a muscle condition). By suddenly abolishing its practice and policy of providing reduced hourly schedules, United required all reservation sales and service representatives who could not work their full bid schedules to either retire or go out on extended leave, and then terminated them when their leave ran out, the agency charged in the suit.

These policies and practices violate the ADA, the EEOC said.