CHICAGO - Pactiv LLC, an Illinois-based provider of advanced packing solutions to customers around the world, will pay $1,700,000 to conciliate a disability discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The agreement results from an EEOC investigation which found reasonable cause to believe that Pactiv discriminated against individuals with disabilities by disciplining and discharging them according to its nationwide policies to issue attendance points for medical-related absences; not allowing intermittent leave as a reasonable accommodation; and not allowing leave or an extension of leave as a reasonable accommodation.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pactiv agreed to conciliate the matter with EEOC and a class of individuals, including the individual who filed a charge, rather than pursue the matter through litigation.
The settlement provides monetary relief to those who have already been discriminated against, and also ensures the company will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination from occurring. According to the agreement, Pactiv will:
conduct ADA training at each of its locations nationwide;
revise and distribute its ADA policy and procedures, including those related to providing reasonable accommodations to employees; and
revise and distribute nationwide its new attendance policy that will not assess points for disability-related absences.
The company will also provide periodic reporting to EEOC on all accommodation requests from employees and on all employees separated or assessed attendance points, and post an internal notification to its employees nationwide of this conciliation.
"Employers need to get this message: Inflexible, strictly enforced leave policies can violate federal law," said EEOC Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman. "As an employer, make sure you have exceptions for people with disabilities and assess each situation individually. We are pleased that Pactiv has agreed to change its attendance policies at all its facilities to ensure it provides reasonable accommodations where required by the ADA."
Joseph Sangregorio, Pactiv's vice president of human resources, said, "Pactiv is proud of its diversity and its record of providing equal employment opportunities to all of its employees and applicants, including those with disabilities. In this instance, rather than litigating, Pactiv was able resolve its differences with EEOC in a manner that is entirely consistent with Pactiv's inclusive philosophies and its commitment to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation's laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, and retaliation. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov