Posted On: February 8, 2010 by

Funeral Home Buries Itself and Must Pay $62,500 To Settle Americans With Disabilities Act Lawsuit

Attrells funeral chapel will pay $62,500 to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Barbara Jackson. According to the lawsuit Attrells failed to allow amputee Jackson an almost two-year employee, to continue working as a secretary once she required the use of a wheelchair. In a remarkable statement Attrell’s claimed Jackson could not carry out her secretarial duties if she could not walk. In an even more remarkable statement Attrells said having an employee in a wheelchair might make their grieving clients feel bad. Are you kidding me? Having her hobble around on one leg would make the grieving clients feel better than seeing her get around in a wheelchair? What planet are these people on.

As is very typical in situations like this Jackson suffered financial hardship due to difficulties in finding a comparable job after she was fired. You can only imagion looking for work with one leg and having to tell a future employee you were fired because your boss didn't think you could perform your job in a wheelchair. Jackson not only suffered financially, but also through humiliation and loss of self-esteem.

“Attrell’s fired Ms. Jackson based on its own stereotypes about what a person who uses a wheelchair can and cannot do,” said A. Luis Lucero, Jr., director of the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office. “Ms. Jackson was not even given the opportunity to demonstrate her abilities to carry out her work functions using a chair. Such stereotyping harms people with disabilities, but it also hurts employers because they lose out on talented and qualified employees.”

In addition to paying money, Attrells must also provide discrimination training to employees and post a notice of the settlement so all employees can see what took place here. In my opinion, the management of this company should be handed their pink slips. Illinois has employers with this type of mentality and legal advice should be given if you encounter this type of behavior at work.

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