- Nevada Restaurant Services will pay $3.5 million to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency says the Las Vegas gaming company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring workers with disabilities or medical conditions to be 100% healed before returning to work. EEOC said this practice doesn't account for the ADA's interactive process or its reasonable accommodation requirement.
- The agency also said that Nevada Restaurant Services fired and/or forced employees to quit because it regarded them as disabled, they had a record of a disability and/or were associated with someone with a disability.
- Besides the $3.5 million monetary relief for the employees, Nevada Restaurant Services agreed to retain an ADA consultant to review and revise the company's disability policies; implement effective ADA training for HR and supervisory personnel and staff; develop a centralized tracking system for employee requests for disability accommodations; and submit regular reports to the EEOC verifying compliance with the three-and-a-half-year long consent decree.
The ADA favors an "interactive process" — an informal discussion that helps employers and employees find a reasonable accommodation.
Employers can seek documentation during this process, and don't have to provide the accommodation that an employee prefers. Instead, employers may choose any reasonable and effective accommodation that meets the employee's needs. Accommodations can include a number of changes, from an altered work schedule to reassignment of marginal duties.
Experts regularly cite front-line managers as a major cause of discrimination claims. HR can work to ensure that supervisors understand workers' ADA rights and are trained to listen for and respond to requests for accommodation.