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When refusing reasonable accommodations lead to theft

Florida employees who suffer from a disability such as diabetes may be interested to learn that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused a retailer of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act after it fired an employee for eating food before she had paid for it. In this case, the employee, who had diabetes, was denied the request to keep juice with her at the register.

The employee reportedly was working one day when she suffered a sudden hypoglycemic attack. Because she could not leave her register to go get a snack to keep her symptoms under control, she took a bottle of juice out of the cooler and drank it immediately. Once she was no longer suffering from the attack, she paid for the item. The complaint stated that she did alert a manager to what she had needed to do but was then fired for it.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the company on her behalf. The company ended up paying approximately $275,000 to the employee for back pay and compensatory damages. The company did have an accommodation policy, but it appeared that the manager and other employees simply were not aware of this policy.

Although theft in the workplace often leads to termination, there may be cases when employees must break company rules to deal with disabilities and illnesses especially if the company refuses to reasonably accommodate those employees. When people are fired due to their disability or illness, they may be able to seek workplace disability discrimination law firm help from an attorney. Depending on the circumstances, the attorney may prove that the company refused to accommodate the person’s disabilities especially if the accommodation requests were reasonable. In some cases, the attorney may help the employee seek compensatory in addition to back pay.

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