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Retailer will pay for forcing employees to disclose medical data

A class-action lawsuit filed against national retailer Dillard's in 2008 has finally reached a settlement, with the retailer agreement to pay $2 million dollars to any employee who may have been impacted by the company's discrimination. The lawsuit alleged that the company forced workers to give away private medical information if they wanted to get any sick leave.

The workplace discrimination allegedly happened from a period of Aug. 16, 2005 through Aug. 15, 2009. Dillard's has a handful of stores throughout Florida. Dillard's also allegedly fired several employees because they took sick leave beyond what the company allows. That was ruled to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Many employees felt uncomfortable turning over private medical details to their employer. One of the people who was fired only missed work for four days.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit, companies are not allowed to demand to know medical information from employees unless the disability affects the employee's ability to do his or her job.

According to the settlement, Dillard's will hire a consultant knowledgeable on the Americans with Disabilities Act to examine whether company policies are compliant. The company will not be allowed to impose a maximum length of time that an employee may be on sick leave.

This consultant will also be tasked with training employers and employees about the Americans with Disabilities Act so that employees are aware that they cannot be punished for not turning over medical data to the company. The settlement is good sign that the company is willing to learn from its mistakes and treat employees more fairly.

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Dillard's to Pay $2 Million to Settle Class Action Disability Discrimination Lawsuit by EEOC," Dec. 18, 2012

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