February 10, 2003
Disability Compliance Bulletin
Section: Vol. 25, No. 2
Resolving a suit filed in September 2001, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that it has settled a suit it filed against the Target Corp. on behalf of a worker with multiple sclerosis. The case included claims that Target wrongfully refused to transfer the worker to a different job and unlawfully disclosed disability-related information to a prospective employer. "The ADA requires that an employer make reasonable accommodations for the disabilities of its qualified employees, and that it keep medical information about its employees confidential," said EEOC district director Chester V. Bailey in Milwaukee.
Charging party Suzanne Stombaugh began working for Target in 1991. Approximately two years later, she was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis.
Despite the diagnosis, Stombaugh was promoted to a managerial position in 1994. In March 1997, however, she was transferred to a more physically demanding, more stressful position in the store's guest services department. Stombaugh's request to be transferred back to her previous position was denied, said EEOC senior trial attorney Laurie A. Vasichek.
Eventually, Stombaugh accepted a demotion and started looking for another job. When a prospective employer called Target to check a reference, the EEOC said, a Target manager informed the employer that Stombaugh had multiple sclerosis. This was a violation of the ADA, the agency claimed in its suit.
In May 1998, Stombaugh took a leave of absence from her job at Target.
The agency claimed that when she was ready to go back to work, in August
of the same year, Target told her the job she was doing was no longer available
and that it could not guarantee her 40 hours each week. Stombaugh returned
to work on a part-time basis.
© Copyright 2003 LRP Publications