Metro-East News

Macy's settles discrimination suit for firing worker after absence for asthma attack

A Macy's department story seen in a shopping mall.
A Macy's department story seen in a shopping mall. Flickr

Macy’s will pay $75,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit after firing an employee who missed one day due to an asthma attack.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Letishia Moore had worked for Macy’s for nearly eight years, but missed one day due to an asthma-related emergency. She was treated in a hospital emergency room and called in to work, then provided her employer with proof of her ER visit.

Macy’s policy allows absences for disability-related reasons, according to the EEOC, but the manager denied Moore’s request to excuse the absence and she was fired three weeks later.

“The (Americans With Disabilities Act) requires employers to reasonably accommodate disability-related absences that enable their employees to perform their job,” said Julianne Bowman, EEOC district director for Chicago. “Here, a one-day absence would have enabled the employee to return to a job she held for almost eight years.”

EEOC regional attorney Greg Gochanour pointed out that the employee found herself in a potentially life-threatening circumstance and had called in to the store and provided documentation of her hospital visit.

“Rather than accommodate the employee, Macy’s fired her,” he said.

The EEOC filed suit in the Northern District of U.S. District Court after they could not reach an agreement in mediation. Now Macy’s is settling for $75,000 to the employee, and requirements that the retailer will train employees on disability law and accommodation requirements under the ADA.

Macy’s representative Andrea Schwartz declined to comment on the settlement. "Per Macy’s policy, we do not comment on legal matters," she said.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald