BALTIMORE (WJZ) — M&T Bank must pay $100,000 and provide “significant equitable relief” to resolve a federal disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Tuesday.
According to the suit, an M&T branch manager in Baltimore told a vice president that she needed surgery for pregnancy-related disability. While she was on approved leave, M&T informed her that it would fill her position unless she was medically cleared to work within 10 days.
M&T required her to apply for vacant positions for which she was qualified instead of simply reassigning her to one of them as a reasonable accommodation, the suit says.
Further, the EEOC charged there were at least 24 vacant branch manager or assistant branch manager positions available in the greater Baltimore region at the time the manager would try to go back to work.
M&T discharged the manager because of her disability and record of a disability, the suit claims.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability or a record of a disability, and requires employers to “reasonably accommodate an individual’s disability unless the employer can prove that doing so would be an undue hardship.”
A U.S. District Court judge found the manager did have a disability within the ADA’s meaning and was entitled to non-competitive reassignment to a vacant position for which she was qualified for as a reasonable accommodation.
In addition to the $100,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to the manager, the three-year consent decree resolving the case enjoins M&T Bank from engaging in disability discrimination in the future.
The bank must also create a non-competitive procedure so that a qualified employee coming back from work after an extended leave of absence due to a disability and whose job has been replaced may be reassigned to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation.
M&T Bank will also provide training on Title VII, post an anti-discrimination notice, and report to the EEOC on how it handles any reassign¬ment of employees whose jobs were replaced while on a medical leave of absence, a release announcing the settlement said.