Blanket policies barring employees on light or limited duty from working overtime violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
That’s the upshot of a case involving United Airlines. In a consent decree filed in federal court, the company has agreed to pay $850,000 to settle an EEOC disability-discrimination lawsuit.
From 1998 to 2003, the airline had a policy that denied overtime work to employees who were on light or limited duty.
Samuel Chetcuti, a United employee at the San Francisco airport, filed a claim against the company.
Chetcuti has epilepsy and was under medical restrictions that prevented him from operating heavy machinery or working “at heights.”
United considered Chetcuti on light duty. He was medically cleared to work overtime, but United’s policy prevented him from doing so.
A consent decree between United and the EEOC states that the airline “shall not discriminate against United employees at San Francisco International Airport on the basis of disability regarding eligibility for overtime.” United ended the overtime restriction in 2003.
EEOC attorney William Tamayo said United’s former overtime policy ran “counter to the ADA’s goal that each employee be evaluated individually on whether they can get the job done, with or without an accommodation.”
One of the best ways to reduce workers’ comp costs is to have a light-duty program already in place for injured or disabled workers.
Does your company have a light-duty program in place for employees who are injured or who are diagnosed with a medical condition? Let us know about it in the Comments Box below.