Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against AutoZone to Go Forward Without Limitation in Scope

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A federal district court has denied a request by auto parts retailer AutoZone to limit the scope of a nationwide disability discrimination case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The district court rejected the company's argument that EEOC did not conduct an adequate, "nationwide" investigation prior to filing suit.  The company requested that the suit be limited to just three of the company's many retail stores as a result.  According to its website, AutoZone operates several thousand stores in 48 states and Puerto Rico.

EEOC filed suit on May 9, 2014, alleging that from 2009 until at least 2011, the company assessed employees attendance "points" for absences, without permitting any general exception for disability-related absences.  As a result, the complaint alleges, qualified employees with disabilities with even modest numbers of disability-related absences were fired, in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA prohibits disability discrimination in employment, which includes failure to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.  The case (EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 14-cv- 3855) was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

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