WASHINGTON (AP) — Department store chain Dillard’s Inc. is paying $2 million to settle charges that it illegally required workers who took sick leave to reveal confidential medical information.
The settlement, announced Tuesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, resolves a 4-year-old class-action lawsuit that charged Dillard’s with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The EEOC said thousands of current and former Dillard’s employees who sought sick leave were forced to submit a doctor’s note explaining not just that they were being treated, but the exact nature of their medical condition. The commission says workers who didn’t feel comfortable disclosing details of their treatment were fired, even when doctors advised them not to reveal private medical information.
Dillard’s, which has about 300 stores across 29 states, had argued that the policy was needed to confirm medical absences were legitimate. But the EEOC says employers are not allowed to ask for particulars of treatment unless they are job-related and necessary for the conduct of business.
In a statement, Dillard’s denied that its policies violated the ADA.
“In order to avoid further protracted litigation with the EEOC over policies that are no longer in effect, Dillard’s determined that the most efficient resolution was to settle with the EEOC,” the company said.
Anna Park, an EEOC attorney, said some employees were forced to reveal conditions like cancer, mental illness or gynecological information just to get an excused absence.
“We found that managers weren’t trained and they were really harassing people,” Park said.
The settlement also resolves allegations that Dillard’s fired some workers for taking more sick leave than the company allowed. The company did not confer with employees to see whether more leave was allowed under federal law to accommodate a worker’s disability, the EEOC said.
Under a three-year consent decree, Dillard’s will pay $2 million to identified victims and establish a class fund for victims who are not yet identified.
Park said at least 75 employees who were victims of the policies have been identified at a Dillard’s store in El Centro, Calif., which was the subject of the EEOC’s initial lawsuit. She expects thousands more to come forward.
Employees who worked at Dillard’s between Aug. 16, 2005, and Aug. 15, 2009, can qualify to receive a monetary settlement award. In addition, anyone who worked at Dillard’s and believes they were terminated after May 28, 2008, for taking too much sick leave can make a claim.
The consent decree requires Dillard’s to hire a consultant to review and revise company policies and train supervisors and staff on federal disability law. The company will submit annual reports verifying compliance.
Employees who believe they are eligible for the settlement can go to http://www.dillardeeocsettlement.com or call 213-894-1032 for information on how to complete a claim form.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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