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ADA Illustrative Case
Lack of ADA training leads to punitive damages

Employers that don't train their managers on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act could be liable for punitive damages, according to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In this case, the employer's written policy against discrimination was not enough, and the court was unconvinced that the employer made a good faith effort to educate its employees about the ADA. The assistant manager had received no training about disability discrimination, and it was three years after the suspension when she became aware that the law required employers to make reasonable accommodations.

Even worse, the store's personnel manager had received no training in employment discrimination or ADA requirements, and did not have a copy of the employer's ADA handbook. This demonstrated a "broad failure" to educate employees, especially supervisors, on the requirements of the ADA.

The Court of Appeals held this corporate indifference to disability discrimination made the company liable for punitive damages.


 

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EEOC v. Wal-Mart (10th Cir 08/23/1999)
source: Ross Runkel, www.RossRunkel.com

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