DILLARD'S SETTLES ADA LAWSUIT FOR $2M, EEOC SAYS

(The following press release from the EEOC was received by e-mail. The sender 
verified the statement.) 
December 18, 2012                                                                
DILLARD’S TO PAY $2 MILLION TO SETTLE CLASS ACTION DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION 
SUIT BY EEOC                                                                     
Department Store Chain Policy Required the Disclosure of Confidential Medical 
Information Affecting Thousands of Workers, Federal Agency Says 
LOS ANGELES —Dillard’s Inc., a national retail chain, will pay $2 million and 
commit to extensive, company-wide injunctive relief to settle a class action 
disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  At issue was 
Dillard’s longstanding national policy and practice of requiring all employees 
to disclose personal and confidential medical information in order to be 
approved for sick leave.  The settlement also resolves claims that Dillard’s 
terminated a class of employees nationwide for taking sick leave beyond the 
maximum amount of time allowed, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities 
Act (ADA). 
The EEOC originally filed its lawsuit in 2008 in the U.S. District Court for 
the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Dillard’s, Inc., et al, Case No. 
08-CV-1780), on behalf of Corina Scott, a former cosmetics counter employee at 
a Dillard’s store in El Centro, Calif., and others who were required to 
disclose the exact nature of their medical conditions to be approved for sick 
leave since 2005.   
While the class members had verifications from doctors to assure Dillard’s that 
the absences were due to medical reasons, many did not feel comfortable 
disclosing the specifics of their conditions to the company.  According to the 
EEOC, Scott – who was absent from work for a mere four days – and others were 
then fired in retaliation for their refusal to provide details of their medical 
conditions, despite the fact that many of their own doctors advised them not to 
disclose specific medical information in accordance with the law.   
The EEOC argued that the policy violated the ADA which prohibits employers from 
making inquiries into the disabilities of their employees unless it is 
job-related and necessary for the conduct of business.  The District Court 
ruled that Dillard’s medical disclosure policy was facially discriminatory 
under the ADA.  The EEOC expects to identify thousands of victims across the 
U.S. through the claims notice process designed to distribute the class fund 
arising from this settlement.   
Additionally, the EEOC claimed that Dillard’s enforced a maximum-leave policy 
limiting the amount of health-related leave an employee could take and, in 
practice, did not regularly engage in an interactive process with employees to 
determine if more leave was allowed under the ADA as an accommodation of the 
employee's disability. 
The parties entered into a three-year consent decree requiring Dillard’s to pay 
$2 million to identified victims and establish a class fund for currently 
unidentified victims who also suffered similar discrimination during the 
relevant time period.  Any person who worked at a Dillard’s store (other than 
the El Centro store) between August 16, 2005, and August 15, 2009, and believes 
they were affected by the policy can go to www.dillardeeocsettlement.com, email 
dillards.settlement@eeoc.gov, or call (213) 894-1032 for more information on 
how to complete a claim form and potentially collect a monetary award as part 
of the settlement.  Also, any person who worked at any Dillard’s store and 
believes they were terminated after May 28, 2008 for taking too much leave may 
also visit the website or call the phone number for more information on the 
claims process.   
The consent decree further requires that Dillard’s hire a consultant with ADA 
experience to review and revise company policies as appropriate; post 
documentation related to this settlement; to implement effective training for 
both supervisors and staff on the ADA with an emphasis on medical inquiries and 
maximum leave policies; and, to develop a centralized tracking system for 
employee complaints involving disability discrimination.  Dillard’s will submit 
annual reports to the EEOC verifying compliance with the decree.    
"I am pleased that we were able to resolve this systemic lawsuit on behalf of 
workers with disabilities," said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez.  "The 
EEOC always stands ready to use our enforcement to advance equal employment 
opportunities and we have been very successful in ensuring that people with 
disabilities are protected from workplace discrimination in cases such as EEOC 
v. Interstate Distributor Company, EEOC v. United Airlines and EEOC v. Verizon 
Communications."     
Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, 
added, “We commend Dillard’s for agreeing to measures that will prevent and 
effectively address potential disability discrimination.  Policies and 
practices that permit medical inquiries without proof of a valid business 
necessity run afoul of the law, often having large-scale consequences.  All 
employers should carefully examine their own policies and practices to ensure 
compliance with federal law.” 
In response to news of settlement, plaintiff Corina Scott stated, “It was 
humiliating to be fired after expressing my right to keep my medical 
information private.  I am grateful to the EEOC for assisting me and the many 
other workers who were also affected.” 
According to its website, www.dillards.com, Dillard’s Inc. ranks among the 
nation’s largest fashion apparel, cosmetics and home furnishings retailers with 
annual revenues exceeding $6.2 billion.  The Little Rock, Arkansas-based 
company operates just under 300 stores in 29 states nationwide. 
The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting 
employment discrimina¬tion.  Further information about the EEOC is available on 
the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov. 
(bjh) NY
 
 
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