ADA in the News March 29, 2023

EEOC Sues Otis Elevator Company for Disability Discrimination

Otis Worldwide Corporation, doing business as Otis Elevator Company — a global company based in Farmington, Connecticut that constructs, repairs, modernizes, and maintains elevators, escalators, and related equipment — violated federal law by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with disabilities and retaliating against him, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Otis Elevator discriminated against an assistant mechanic employed at its Canton, Massachusetts location when — from April 2021 through November 2021 — it failed to accommodate his autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Soon after the mechanic began his employment with Otis Elevator, it became apparent that he was unable to effectively process sounds and voices while on a crowded and noisy construction site due to his ASD and ADHD. Although the mechanic requested a reasonable accommodation, over the course of several months Otis Elevator did not provide him with one, the EEOC said.

The EEOC’s complaint also charged that Otis Elevator placed the mechanic on unpaid leave shortly after he requested an accommodation, which the company claimed was due to a foot injury. The company then refused to allow him to return to work for months, despite receiving multiple doctors’ notes confirming that he was cleared to return to work. Otis Elevator’s refusal to permit the mechanic to return from unpaid medical leave was in retaliation for his request for an accommodation, the EEOC charged.


Total Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Agrees to Provide Sign Language Interpreters in Settlement of Claim that it Violated the Americans with Disabilities Act

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced today that an agreement has been reached with Orthopaedics, Spine, and Sports Medicine, LLC, d/b/a Total Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (Total Orthopedics), under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to resolve allegations that Total Orthopedics failed to comply with its communications obligations for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in places of public accommodations such as medical centers. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing fall within the protection of the ADA.

Total Orthopedics is an orthopedic clinic with locations throughout New York City, New Jersey, and on Long Island. The settlement resolves claims made by an individual who is deaf, that Total Orthopedics refused to provide her with appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including a qualified sign-language interpreter, to ensure effective communication during a medical appointment at Total Orthopedics’ location in Massapequa in January 2020.


EEOC Sues Walmart for Disability Discrimination

Wal-Mart Stores East, LP violated federal law when it refused to excuse an employee’s disability-related leave and discharged her for violating the company’s attendance policy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, on several occasions from November 2016 through April 2017, Walmart refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to a deli associate who was suffering from symptoms related to Crohn’s disease. Specifically, the associate requested intermittent leave or excused disability-related absences and requested to be transferred to a position closer to a bathroom. Although Walmart excused a few of the associate’s disability-related absences, it did not excuse others, including several absences due to medical appointments and a hospitalization. The associate, who had worked for Walmart since February of 2014, was fired in April 2017 for incurring unexcused absences exceeding the number of absences allowed under company policy, even though she had provided doctor’s notes.


EEOC Sues Total Systems Services for Disability Discrimination and Retaliation

Total Systems Services, LLC, a global payments processing company based in Columbus, Georgia, violated federal law by denying repeated requests by an employee with a disability for remote work as a reasonable accommodation due to increased risks related to COVID-19, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. The company further violated the law by retaliating against her for taking medical leave to avoid exposure, the EEOC said.

According to the EEOC’s suit, from May through August 2020, a customer service representative with a disability in a Total Systems’ call center repeatedly requested to work remotely as a reasonable accommodation because of her high-risk status with respect to COVID-19. At the time, the employee’s call center co-workers were regularly testing positive for the virus, the EEOC said.

On the advice of her doctor, the employee requested remote work after a May 2020 workplace COVID-19 exposure. Total Systems denied the employee’s reasonable accommodation request.

Feedback Form