There are several federal laws in place - the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, to name a few - designed to protect workers who have to miss work because of any number of medical reasons.
In a perfect viewpoint of employment, no one is discriminated for any reason. Whether it is race, age, sex or different factors, no one should be terminated or prevented from getting a job because of factors that have nothing to do with the individual's ability to adequately perform their duties. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is sometimes shattered by cases in which individuals are indeed prevented from working because of such factors. Such is the case of a recent workplace discrimination incident in Detroit.
Detroit residents may be interested in a case brought on in behalf of disabled plant workers. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit seeking to uphold employees' rights against a company that allegedly hired mentally disabled men to work in a turkey plant and subjected the workers to mental and physical abuse. The alleged behavior occurred for more than three decades, beginning in the 1970s. The EEOC alleges that workers were paid only $65 per month, which works out to 41 cents per hour. The men reportedly did not receive any raises while working there. The EEOC claims that the company imposed discriminatory employment terms on the workers in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, it is alleged that the men were denied bathroom breaks, required to work when ill and subjected to unwarranted punishments.
Department store chain Dillard's recently announced that it will pay $2 million to settle claims that it practiced workplace discrimination by asking employees who were using sick time to provide detailed medical information regarding why they needed the time off from work.
Most Michigan consumers know Tyson foods as the company that processes the meat they buy in the grocery store. In fact, Tyson is one of the biggest processors of chicken, beef and pork in the country and employs thousands of people. That's why a recent announcement that it has settled an employment discrimination claim for $35,000 should make other industry players stand up and take notice.