EEOC: Dillard’s illegally requested medical details from workers

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2012 | Employee Rights

Many workers in San Diego are allowed to take a sick day here and there when they need to recuperate from an illness. And when employees suffer from illnesses or injuries that require more than just a couple of days off of work, they may even be eligible to take an extended sick leave or medical leave without having to worry about losing their jobs.

When employees do call in sick or request to take a sick leave, managers or supervisors might be inclined to ask employees to explain why they need time off of work, but employees should understand that they do not always have to share details about their medical conditions with their employers. Being forced to do so could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Sometimes employers request signed notes from doctors that state when it is advised that a worker takes a few days off of work, but most employers cannot legally demand that employees share detailed information about their medical conditions and treatments. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that employers can only request details about one’s medical treatment or condition under very specific circumstances.

This week, department store chain Dillard’s was finally held accountable for breaking federal laws by requiring employees to disclose confidential medical information with the company when requesting sick leave. Dillard’s agreed to pay $2 million to settle the class-action lawsuit that had been filed against the company four years ago.

According to the lawsuit, Dillard’s employees were told that it was required to share private medical information in order to get their sick leave approved. This illegal practice occurred between August 2005 and August 2009. Some employees who worked for the department store in California and other locations throughout the country were even fired for not disclosing information about their personal medical conditions or treatments.

The company claims that its policies did not violate the ADA. After investigating workers’ claims regarding the company’s illegal practices, the EEOC concluded that Dillard’s did not train managers to properly handle sick leave requests. In addition to compensating workers who were affected by the illegal practices, Dillard’s will also need to review and revise its policies in order to make sure the company does not violate employees’ rights in the future.

Source: Associated Press, “Dillard’s pays $2M to settle discrimination claims,” Sam Hananel, Dec. 18, 2012

  • Our firm handles a variety of employment law and job rights issues, including complaints similar to the one discussed in today’s blog post. To learn more about employees’ rights, please visit our San Diego employment discrimination attorneys page.


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