Verizon Settles $20 Million Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

By Staff Report

Jul. 7, 2011

Verizon Communications Inc. has agreed to pay $20 million to resolve a nationwide class disability discrimination lawsuit involving the company’s “no fault” attendance plans, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said July 7.

The case is the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history, according to the federal agency.

The EEOC charged that New York City-based Verizon violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when 24 Verizon subsidiaries unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of unionized employees and disciplined and/or fired them under its “no fault” attendance plans.

If an employee accumulated a designated number of “chargeable absences” under Verizon’s attendance plans, the worker was put on a disciplinary step that could result in more serious consequences, the EEOC said.

The EEOC charged that instead of providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, it disciplined or terminated them.

“An inflexible leave policy may deny workers with disabilities a reasonable accommodation to which they’re entitled by law—with devastating effects,” EEOC chair Jacqueline Berrien said in a written statement.

Also in a statement, Verizon said it agreed to settle the complaint “solely because it is in the best interest of our company, our employees and our customers to avoid the disruption, delay and expense of protracted litigation.

“In addition, this settlement, which applies only to union-represented wireline employees, provides Verizon with clearer guidance from the EEOC regarding when it may be appropriate to provide additional leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This was previously lacking and was a significant factor in Verizon agreeing to settle the matter.” According to a Verizon spokesperson, wireline employees install, maintain and repair landline phone services.

Verizon said it complies with all employment laws, “and in fact has not in this case conceded any violation of those laws. In addition, no court has ever found that Verizon violated the ADA or any other law in the manner alleged by the EEOC. Verizon believes it has accommodated employees with fairness to all, consistent with a company that has a long-standing public record recognized by many third parties—for commitment to and support of people with disabilities. In fact, Verizon’s leave-of-absence and accommodation policies continue to far exceed what is required by law.”

Settlement of the litigation, which was filed in federal court in Baltimore the same day as the lawsuit, is subject to judicial approval.

In March, the EEOC released regulations on what qualifies as a disability and what constitutes adequate protection of individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.

Filed by Judy Greenwald of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email


Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


New Labor Laws Taking Effect in 2023

The new year is fast approaching, and with its arrival comes a host of new labor laws that will impact ...

labor laws, minimum wage, wage and hour law

workforce blog


Wage and Hour Laws in 2022: What Employers Need to Know

Whether a mom-and-pop shop with a handful of employees or a large corporation staffing thousands, compl...

compliance, wage and hour law