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Grand Theft Paycheck: How Big Corporations Shortchange Their Workers

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A new report, Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers’ Wages, reveals that large corporations have paid out billions to resolve wage theft lawsuits brought by workers. The lawsuits show that corporations frequently force employees to work off the clock, cheat them out of legally required overtime pay and use other methods to steal wages from workers.

“Our findings make it clear that wage theft goes far beyond sweatshops, fast-food outlets and retailers. It is built into the business model of a substantial portion of Corporate America,” said Philip Mattera, the lead author of the report and director of research for Good Jobs First, which produced the report in conjunction with the Jobs With Justice Education Fund.

Here are nine things you need to know from the Grand Theft Paycheck report:

1. The top dozen companies from the report, in terms of wage theft settlement payouts, are Walmart, FedEx, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Co., State Farm Insurance, AT&T, United Parcel Service, ABM Industries, Tenet Healthcare, Zurich Insurance Group and Allstate. With the exception of Tenet Healthcare, each of these companies had profits in 2017 of $3 billion or more.

2. More than 450 big companies have paid out $1 million or more in wage theft settlements.

3. Since 2000, there have been more than 1,200 successful collective actions that have been resolved for a total in penalties of more than $8.8 billion.

4. Only eight states enforced wage theft penalties and provided data for the report. Those eight states combined with the federal totals bring the number of cases to 4,220 and the cumulative penalties reaching $9.2 billion. This includes no data from the remaining states.

5. Fortune 500 and Fortune Global 500 companies account for the bulk of the penalties, with 2,167 cases and $6.8 billion in penalties.

6. Seven individual settlements exceeded $100 million. The worst case was a $640 million omnibus settlement with Walmart, covering more than 60 different initial lawsuits.

7. The retail industry is the most frequent violator, followed by financial services, freight and logistics, business services, insurance, miscellaneous services, health care services, restaurants and food service, information technology, and food and beverage products.

8. The most penalized industries tend to be those that employ a large percentage of women, African American and Latino workers.

9. These numbers only include penalties that have been publicly disclosed. More than 125 confidential cases were found involving nearly 90 large companies, including AT&T, Home Depot, Verizon Communications Inc., Comcast, Lowe’s and Best Buy.

Read the full report.

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Boeing Workers in S.C. Have Finally Unionized. But Trump’s Labor Board Could Kibosh It.

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On May 31, technicians at the Boeing factory in North Charleston, South Carolina voted to unionize and join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. However, Boeing has appealed the vote and Donald Trump’s GOP-controlled National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could reverse the decision by ruling that workers had no right to hold the election to begin with.

Boeing built a Dreamliner factory in South Carolina in 2009, after its Washington workers went on strike four times in a roughly 22-year period at its previous Washington location. South Carolina is a “right to work” state with a small number of unionized workers. The NLRB filed a lawsuit against Boeing after the company moved, claiming that the relocation constituted union busting, targeting the machinists’ union in Washington. In 2011, the NLRB dropped the case at the request of the union, after Boeing agreed to raise wages and expand its production back in Washington.

The May 31 labor victory follows two prior attempts to form a union. In 2015, the machinists withdrew a request for a union vote, claiming that a fair election couldn’t be held due to “an atmosphere of threats, harassment and unprecedented political interference.” Last year, the union suffered a huge defeat after employees voted 2,097-731 against joining the union.

This time, the union voted within a smaller bargaining unit, often referred to as a “micro unit,” and secured a 104-65 win on May 31. However, this win could be in jeopardy as Boeing has appealed the vote, arguing that the micro-unit election violates federal labor law. That challenge will be heard by the NLRB, which Trump has filled with pro-management forces since taking office, tipping the agency back to a 3-2 Republican majority.

There is reason to be concerned that the NLRB will side against workers. In 2017, Trump’s NLRB reversed an Obama-era ruling that made it easier for smaller bargaining units to organize for unionization, the very strategy that Boeing workers used to secure their recent victory.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers can petition the NLRB to hold a union election, while the board gets to rule on what constitutes an appropriate bargaining unit. In the 2011 Specialty Healthcare case, the NLRB determined that employers can’t petition to add more workers to a bargaining unit unless the added employees share an “overwhelming community of interest” with the workers already in the unit. The ruling, which made it more difficult for employers to thwart union efforts, was predictably opposed by business groups and large companies. “This makes it almost inevitable that any union target will eventually be organized,” lamented David French, the vice president of the National Retail Federation, in 2016.

In December 2017, Trump’s NLRB reversed the decision when ruling that a group of 100 welders at an Oregon company can’t legally organize without the participation of the other employees. “[Corporations] simply want to make it easier for employers to defeat an organizing campaign, by manipulating who is in a bargaining unit,” wrote the Economic Policy Institute’s Associate labor counsel Marni von Wilpert at the time. “By overturning this rule, the Trump administration has once again shown that it wants to make it harder for workers to organize and join unions.”

This May, an NLRB regional director in Seattle ruled that the welders can establish a union after all, despite the Specialty Healthcarereversal.

Despite the fact that the NLRB denied Boeing’s request for the election to be paused shortly before the vote, there is concern that the agency will side with the employer in response to the May 31 union vote. In addition to the board’s pro-management bent, there’s a looming conflict-of-interest worry. Although he’s been cleared to rule on the case by an NLRB ethics official, board member William Emanuel’s former law firm represented Boeing on a number of occasions.

Emanuel’s potential conflicts of interest were a major component of his confirmation hearing, and this February the NLRB voted to undo the reversal of an Obama-era ruling on joint employers, after it was revealed that Emanuel’s former law firm represented one of the parties involved. In a report on the matter, Inspector General David Berry wrote that “Member Emanuel’s participation … calls into question the validity of that decision and the confidence that the Board is performing its statutory duties.”

South Carolina’s Boeing plant was one of the first companies Trump visited after becoming president. “We’re here to day to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing,” Trump said at the event. “We’re also here today to celebrate jobs. Jobs!” Five months later the factory announced a round of layoffs.

About the Author: Michael Arria covers labor and social movements. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelarria
This article was originally published at In These Times on June 11, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

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Check out how unions make California’s economy more equal

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As the Supreme Court gets ready to deal a major blow to public sector unions, here’s a reminder of how much unions do to increase equality in this country. A University of California-Berkeley Labor Center report on the effects of unions in California shows how unions help close racial and gender gaps in wages and more:

  • Union coverage increases wages by 26 percent for women, compared to 15 percent for men.
  • Black and Latino/a workers see a bigger increase in their average wages from union coverage
  • (19 percent for Black workers and 40 percent for Latino/a workers) compared to White workers (9 percent).
  • Immigrant workers also see slightly larger wage gains from union coverage (19 percent) compared to U.S.-born workers (18 percent).

Effects are similar for having employer-sponsored health coverage and retirement plans—unions make it more likely workers will have these benefits, and they make the economy a little more equal. And if more workers were in unions, that could make the economy a lot more equal.

This blog was originally published at Daily Kos on June 9, 2018. Reprinted with permission. 

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos.

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For Big Corporations Like Walmart, Wage Theft Penalties Are Just the Price of Doing Business

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A scathing new report finds that hundreds of major corporations in the United States are repeat wage-theft offenders—committing the violations and then paying the subsequent fines as part of the cost of doing business. Jointly published on June 5 by Good Jobs First and Jobs with Justice Education Fund, the report finds that, since 2000, 450 firms have each paid at least $1 million each in settlements or judgments related to wage theft. And 600 companies paid a penalty in multiple cases of wage theft, indicating that punitive measures are not deterring these companies’ violations. In some cases, the number of settlements and fines was stunning, with Hertz seeing 167 cases since 2000 and Walmart seeing 98 cases and shelling out $1.4 billion.

The report is authored by Philip Mattera and includes a chapter on policy recommendations, written by Adam Shah. Through a compilation of available lawsuits, ranging from January 2000 to the present, Mattera finds 4,220 cases filed against large companies where employers were penalized for wage theft to the tune of $9.2 billion total.

Mattera tells In These Times he was shocked by the number of large companies that were involved in wage theft. “I had thought that wage theft would turn out to be mainly an issue for a limited number of large corporations,” he said. “The fact that it is so pervasive in big business highlights the power imbalance between capital and labor.”

Wage theft is a practice in which companies withhold their employees’ overtime pay, force off-the-clock work, violate minimum wage laws or steal tips. Victims of wage theft range from low-wage workers like cashiers, cooks and security guards to higher-paid positions such as nurses, pharmaceutical sales reps and financial advisors. In the 10 most populous states in the country, 2.4 million workers lose $8 billion annually (an average of $3,300 per year for year-round workers) to minimum wage violations, according to a 2017 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). In 2015 and 2016, a total of $2 billion in stolen wages were recovered for workers by the U.S. Department of Labor, that EPI study found.

The biggest players in wage theft are Fortune 500 companies, like Walmart, FedEx and AT&T, according to the Mattera and Shah report. Five of the top dozen companies heavily penalized were banks and insurance firms, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and State Farm Insurance. Mega-corporations account for half of the total cases.

Other top industries where wage theft is ubiquitous are within the business services, insurance and healthcare services—industries that are employed by a predominantly woman workforce. Wage theft also disproportionately affects Black and Latino workers who make up a greater percentage of the workforce within the top ten industries that the report finds are heavily penalized.

The fast food industry should be on the top violators list, according to the Mattera and Shah report. However, high-profile companies like McDonalds run on a franchise model, exempting the corporations from signing checks, which allows them to more easily get away with illegal labor practices, like wage theft. In fact, Shah notes in the report that nine out of ten people working in fast food have experienced wage theft.

The report is a compilation of the cases in which companies were taken to court to be penalized—where records were made public. Most of the cases hail from California, which is attributable to the state’s relatively strong labor code that gives working people greater access to the courts. In most states, wage theft cases proceed through private arbitration, a process usually controlled by the employer that is often lengthy, expensive and time-consuming, which many wage theft victims simply don’t have the means to pursue, according to Shah’s policy analysis of the report. Due to the fact that the data from private litigation practices are not made public, the results of the report are minimized, cementing the fact that the American workplace is even more rife with wage theft than the report illuminates.

Fighting wage theft just became even more difficult thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling, Epic Systems v. Lewis, that allows corporations to force employees to sign away their rights to engage in collective action. Shah argues in the report that other states should follow California in implementing anti-wage theft laws to combat the austerity of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Another strategy to combat wage theft is for workers to unionize. Mattera tells In These Times that only a few of the wage theft cases found involved unionized workplaces, emphasizing that “the presence of unions seems to keep labor standards abuses in check.”

“Working people who are victims of wage theft must alert government agencies to the theft, but they must also realize that government is never permanently on their side,” Shah tells In These Times. “The best way to ensure justice in the workplace is to organize and assert their own power.”

This article was originally published at In These Times on June 8, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Sasha Kramer has a degree in environmental studies and has been published by Oakland Institute. She is a winter 2018 In These Times editorial intern.

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Teamsters are preparing for what could be the nation’s largest strike in decades

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The Teamsters union represents the 280,000 UPS employees who voted overwhelmingly in favor of going on strike if a deal is not reached before the current labor contract expires on August 1. More than 90 percent voted for a strike.

Issuing a strike authorization vote does not necessarily mean UPS workers will order a work stoppage, but it does give the union leverage over management to win their negotiations.

Since UPS began offering regular Saturday delivery service just a year ago, labor demands have increased. While the company hasn’t announced plans for Sunday service, the union claims UPS has made several proposals to expand weekend deliveries.

Both sides have reached tentative agreements on non-economic related issues and have only begun discussions on healthcare and raises. According to CNN, one proposal from the company promote part-time workers to full-time, while keeping their wages at $15 an hour. Full-time drivers currently earn more than double what part-time employees earn at $36 an hour, or roughly $75,000 a year. The union is divided on the proposal.

The shipments UPS transports comprise an estimated 6 percent of the United States GDP. A labor strike among the company’s workers would have a sizable effect on the economy and would be the largest U.S. labor strike in decades. Three bargaining sessions ago in 1997, UPS workers went on strike for 16 days, and there were 180,000 Teamsters at UPS at that time. There hasn’t been a bigger strike since.

The possibility of one of the largest labor strikes in recent decades comes just weeks after thousands teachers across the country went on strike to demand better wages and healthcare. In almost all the cases, the teachers won their demands from GOP-controlled state governments.

This article has been updated to correct an error that incorrectly described the UPS wage proposal “a two-tier wage system that would allow part-time workers currently making $15 an hour to be paid the same wage as a full-time employee.” The company is proposing part-time workers be promoted to full-time while maintaining their part-time wage.

This article was originally published at ThinkProgress on June 6, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Rebekah Entralgo is a reporter at ThinkProgress. Previously she was a news assistant on the NPR Business Desk. She has also worked for NPR member stations WFSU in Tallahassee and WLRN in Miami.

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Busting some myths about tipped workers and the minimum wage

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There’s a referendum in Washington, D.C., to end the tipped minimum wage and make sure tipped workers get the full minimum wage. Restaurant groups are fighting hard and spreading misinformation, so the Economic Policy Institute sets the record straight. A lower wage for tipped workers disproportionately affects women and people of color—it “perpetuates racial and gender inequities, and results in worse economic outcomes for tipped workers,” especially given research showing that white people get higher tips.

Tipped workers in states where they get a subminimum wage experience higher poverty levels than in equal treatment states—a difference of 18.5 percent poverty vs. 11.1 percent poverty. And while restaurant owners are threatening that if the tipped minimum wage goes up, tips will go down or go away:

The data show that tipped workers’ median hourly pay (counting both base wages and tips) is significantly higher in equal treatment states. Waiters, waitresses, and bartenders in these states earn 17 percent more per hour (including both tips and base pay) than their counterparts in states where tipped workers receive the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour. There is no evidence that net hourly earnings go down, such as from customers tipping less, when tipped workers are paid the regular minimum wage.

Finally, giving tipped workers the full minimum wage is not going to devastate the restaurant industry:

The restaurant industry thrives in equal treatment states. In one of the most comprehensive studies on the minimum wage, researchers aggregated the results of over four decades of studies on the employment effects of the minimum wage. They concluded that there is “little or no significant impact of minimum wage increases on employment.” Affected businesses are typically able to absorb additional labor costs through increases in productivity, reductions in turnover costs, compressing internal wage ladders, and modest price increases. Furthermore, research specific to the tipped minimum wage also found no significant effect on employment.

This blog was originally published at Daily Kos on June 2, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at DailyKos.

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Rank-and-File Union Members Are Leading Another Massive Strike. This Time It’s AT&T Workers.

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Thousands of AT&T employees across the Midwest are entering the sixth day of a rare, rank-and-file-led work stoppage over alleged unfair labor practices. The union representing them, Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 4, has been in contract negotiations with AT&T since March. While members voted overwhelmingly in April to authorize a strike if necessary, the decision to walk off the job last week was not coordinated by union leadership or subject to an official vote.

Instead, the union says that the action was a spontaneous one resulting from widespread anger at the company. In recent weeks, the union alleges that AT&T has tried to bypass its elected bargaining team by e-mailing thousands of workers directly. A May 22 e-mail outlined what the company termed a “final offer” and encouraged employees “to urge CWA leadership to provide you with an opportunity to vote for it.”

CWA filed unfair labor practice charges against AT&T, alleging that this message constitutes bad-faith bargaining and “direct dealing” that violates the company’s duty to negotiate with the union as workers’ sole collective bargaining representative. The charges are still pending.

But in the meantime, the company sent three more e-mails, and workers’ frustration reached a boiling point, according to the union. Resentment had already been bubbling up over the AT&T’s decision to conduct more than 1,000 layoffs soon after receiving a windfall from the passage of federal tax reform. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was a prominent backer of the tax law, which he said would allow the company to create 7,000 jobs.

Not only were the e-mails from the company “disrespectful,” says Beth Dubree, secretary treasurer of CWA Local 4900 in Indiana, they “didn’t even really discuss job security.” Throughout last week, she says, “Our members kept calling, wanting to know why the company was doing this.”

Work stoppages that protest illegal behavior by employers are generally considered protected activity under federal labor law, and so-called unfair labor practice strikes are often an important component of union strategy. But spontaneous, rank-and-file-led walkouts that cross state and occupational lines are almost unheard of in recent years. CWA District 4 represents some 9,500 AT&T technicians, call center representatives and other personnel across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Thousands of workers in every state eventually took part, but the walkout started in Indiana.

In These Times spoke to several local elected officials and members about how the strike picked up momentum.

Early Thursday morning, one group of technicians in Local 4900 “decided that they had had enough” and walked off the job before their 7:00 a.m. shift, according to Dubree. Thanks to a group text chat, “the entire local knew about it by 7:30,” she says. Most workers’ shifts started at 8:00 a.m., and by that time, “no one went to work.”

“It was amazing how fast it spread,” says Dubree. “There wasn’t even a hesitation.”

Word traveled quickly to other states with the aid of a closed Facebook group to coordinate mobilization across the district. Jim Simons, executive vice president of Michigan’s CWA Local 4009 and a 28-year AT&T employee, said that he began receiving calls with news of the Indiana walkout at 8:00 a.m. “The next thing I know, all of Ohio is out,” he says. “At 1:00 p.m., I got the call that two of my garages had walked out.” Soon after, most of the local’s more than 800 members joined in.

Simons says that workers in his local were already livid about layoffs and outsourcing. AT&T was among the companies praised by President Trump for giving out $1,000 dollar bonuses to employees after the passage of tax reform. But according to CWA, the company also laid off more than 1,500 employees in December. “When you do the math, those bonuses were paid for by the layoffs,” says Simons. Some workers in his local donated their bonuses to members who lost their jobs.

AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the walkout, but the company has released a statement that reads, “We’re offering a generous package including annual wage increases, continuation of job security provisions that are virtually unheard of in the U.S., and comprehensive health care and retirement benefits. In addition, the offer includes a commitment to hire 1,000 people in the region. All employees covered by the offer would be better off.”

But in April, CWA released a report charging that in the past seven years, AT&T has laid off more than 16,000 call center workers nationwide, shipping jobs to lower-paying call centers overseas. Last year, AT&T and other big companies boasted that tax reform would allow them to create more jobs in the United States, and CWA is among several unions now pushing the companies in bargaining to reveal whether they plan to follow through. In its fourth-quarter 2017 financials, AT&T said that tax reform helped boost the quarter’s net income to $19 billion, compared to $2.4 billion in the same period a year before.

Anger over the tax cuts was front and center at a demonstration in Chicago this spring, where thousands of members gathered at AT&T headquarters to rally for a contract. During the rally, someone in the building put a sign in the window that read, “No one cares,” according to Simons. “You put all that together, and people were ready” to strike, he says.

As of Tuesday, most members in Wisconsin and Illinois have returned to work, but thousands in Michigan, Ohio and all of Indiana remain on strike, according to the union.

Tim Strong, president of CWA Local 4900 and a member of the District 4 bargaining team, also credits the wave of teacher strikes this year in inspiring members to walk out. Bargaining with AT&T is continuing this week over key issues including job security, use of contractors and healthcare costs, he says.

In the meantime, members have pulled off the longest work stoppage their union has seen since 1989. “I think it’s a reflection of the movement in this country—that you saw teachers who in many cases don’t even have collective bargaining rights going on strike,” says Strong. “And now 9,000 members decided to take this leap of faith and fight.”

This article was originally published at In These Times on June 5, 2018. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Rebecca Burns is an award-winning investigative reporter whose work has appeared in The Baffler, the Chicago ReaderThe Intercept and other outlets. She is a contributing editor at In These Times. Follow her on Twitter @rejburns.

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Former Houston Texans cheerleaders sue team over low pay and harassment

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Five former Houston Texans cheerleaders are suing the NFL team, claiming they weren’t paid for many hours of work and were subjected to intimidation and harassment on the job.

“We were harassed, bullied, and body shamed for $7.25 an hour,” former cheerleader Ainsley Parish said at a press conference Friday.

The women, who are represented by prominent women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, accuse the team of failing to pay its cheerleaders minimum wage and overtime, as well as failing to provide a safe working environment.

“I was attacked by a fan at a game leaving abrasions on my shoulder. My attacker was not approached, nor was he removed from the game,” former cheerleader Hannah Turnbow said during the press conference. “I was told to just suck it up.”

The five women aren’t alone; just last month, three other former Houston Texans cheerleaders sued the team and its cheerleading supervisor for failing to adequately compensate the women for hours worked, and accused the supervisor of body-shaming and failing to protect the cheerleaders from physical harm.

The suit alleges that the cheerleader director, Altovise Gary, told one cheerleader that she had a “jelly belly,” and criticized another cheerleader’s hairstyle, threatening to “find another Latina girl to replace her.”

In a statement, the team said it is “proud of the cheerleader program” and “will continue to make adjustments as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone.”

The legal actions against the Texans are the latest in a growing body of reports and lawsuits detailing the exploitation of cheerleaders across the NFL.

Last month, the New York Times reported on disturbing allegations from former cheerleaders for Washington, D.C.’s NFL team, who claim they were forced to pose topless during a trip to Costa Rica in 2013 while male sponsors and suiteholders watched. Some of the women were then told they had to escort the men to a club later that night.

A former New Orleans Saints cheerleader filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission earlier this year, claiming she was fired for posting a photo of herself in a bathing suit on her private Instagram account and for attending a party where Saints players may have also been present. Saints cheerleaders are instructed to avoid players in any setting, even on social media, and as ThinkProgress’ Lindsay Gibbs wrote, the onus is fully on the cheerleaders to comply.

In recent years, cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New York Jets have all filed lawsuits just to be paid the minimum wage for their work.

This blog was originally published at ThinkProgress on June 2, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Kiley Kroh is a senior editor at ThinkProgress.

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Failure to Accommodate is Disability Discrimination

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Many people with disabilities face barriers before they even get their foot in the door. But the hiring process is only one form of disability discrimination.

Employers — including federal agencies and government contractors — are legally obligated to accommodate disabilities. But what is considered a “reasonable” accommodation? What if the employer says no?

What does disability accommodation look like?

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with a disability to (a) compete for a job, (b) access the workplace, (c) perform the functions of the job and (d) enjoy the perks and privileges of the job.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission offers these examples of disability accommodations:

  • A wheelchair ramp or handicap-accessible bathroom
  • Specialized equipment or workstation alterations
  • Dictation software for a person with carpal tunnel syndrome
  • An interpreter or TTY software for a hearing-impaired person
  • Changing or eliminating some job tasks
  • Dividing the work day or allowing for extra breaks
  • Working from home (telecommuting)
  • Reassignment to a vacant position

What is the process for requesting accommodations?

Many applicants are hesitant to ask for accommodations during the hiring process. They don’t want to jeopardize their shot, or may not know what accommodations are needed until they start the job.

A request for accommodations can be made at any time, orally or in writing. Once the request is made to a supervisor or manager, it must be forwarded to the agency’s designated Disability Program Manager. The DPM must accept the request and forward it to the appropriate parties. The DPM must respond to the employee within 10 days to discuss viable solutions.

What does failure to accommodate look like?

If management ignores or flatly refuses a reasonable request, that constitutes discrimination. The law requires employers to make a good faith attempt to work with the disabled employee. If the accommodation is not feasible because of cost or other factors, the employer is obligated to offer alternatives or consider compromises. Under the law, refusing to engage in an interactive process is considered failure to accommodate.

For federal employees, all requests for accommodation go through the EEOC. Sometimes the EEOC authorizes an accommodation that differs from the original request. This is not considered failure to accommodate.

What are the remedies for disability discrimination or inadequate accommodation?

If the EEOC denies a request, it must give a detailed explanation why. The employee can request reconsideration through an informal process. If the decision is still unsatisfactory, or if there has been an adverse action, the employee can initiate a formal appeal or grievance through the EEOC or the Merit Systems Protection Board.

If a government contractor or other private employer denies a reasonable request, the remedies vary. The employee could sue to force the employer to provide accommodation. If the employee was let go, reassigned or harassed after requesting accommodations, they could sue for reinstatement or sue for damages for wrongful termination or retaliation.

People with disabilities want to work and contribute and be valued, just like everyone else. If the accommodations would be effective and would not cause the agency or company undue hardship, the law requires it.

About the Authors: Founded in 1990 by Edward H. Passman and Joseph V. Kaplan, Passman & Kaplan, P.C., Attorneys at Law, is focused on protecting the rights of federal employees and promoting workplace fairness.  The attorneys of Passman & Kaplan (Edward H. Passman, Joseph V. Kaplan, Adria S. Zeldin, Andrew J. Perlmutter, Johnathan P. Lloyd and Erik D. Snyder) represent federal employees before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and other federal administrative agencies, and also represent employees in U.S. District and Appeals Courts.

This blog was originally published at Passman & Kaplan, P.C., Attorneys at Law on May 31, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

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