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Stanley Black & Decker reaches $140,000 settlement with EEOC

Stanley Black & Decker has reached a $140,000 settlement to resolve allegations from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the company violated federal law for firing an employee in its Towson facility who was taking time off for cancer treatments.

The EEOC claims the company fired a sales representative for poor attendance even though she exceeded her sales goals and quotas, according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore last week.

In March 2016, the woman told her supervisor that she had been treated for cancer previously and would have follow-up doctor appointments throughout the year. In October, the employee needed more leave to get a biopsy and was told she was not eligible for medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act because she had not worked at the company long enough, the lawsuit states.

The woman was fired two months later, even though her absences were related to her cancer treatment and she had requested accommodations in advance, the lawsuit states. The EEOC also alleges the company did not follow its discipline policy by not first giving her a written warning as the attendance policy requires, the lawsuit states.

The EEOC alleged Stanley Black & Decker’s actions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees.

Stanley Black & Decker settled the allegations “to avoid the distractions and expense of litigation,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

“Stanley Black & Decker contests the allegations in the EEOC’s complaint, and notes that none of such allegations has been proven. Stanley Black & Decker treats all employees fairly and does not discriminate based upon disability or any other protected characteristic,” the spokeswoman said.

In addition to the $140,000 in monetary relief to the employee, the parties are entering a three-year consent decree, enjoining Stanley Black & Decker from denying reasonable accommodations or violating the ADA in the future. The company will also update its inside sales attendance policy, provide annual training at its Towson facility to inside sales managers, supervisors and human resources personnel on the ADA and its reasonable accommodation requirements.

The company will report how it handled any requests for reasonable accommodations and internal complaints of dis­crimination to the EEOC and post a notice about the settlement, the commission said in a news release.

The company will also provide a positive reference for the former employee, the EEOC said.

“In addition to the monetary relief, the settlement provides important equitable relief to protect workers from disability discrimination. We commend Stanley Black & Decker for resolving this matter amicably and before incurring unnecessary litigation expenses,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.

The case is EEOC v. Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., No. 1:18-cv-02525.

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