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Manufacturing Company Settles Disability Allegations with the EEOC

Kaydon Corporation, a Michigan-based company that manufacturers ball bearings used on medical systems, industrial machinery, and semiconductors, has agreed to pay $38,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The plaintiff in the case is Larry Newsome, a machine operator formerly employed by Kaydon at a facility in Sumter, SC. In May 2017, Newsome suffered a heart attack, which required surgery and the placement of two stents in his heart. Following the surgery, Newsome’s physician placed him on five weeks of medical leave to recover from the heart attack and surgery. Several days after suffering the heart attack, Newsome notified Kaydon of his need for medical leave and stated his anticipated return-to-work day would be in late June 2017. Kaydon then denied his request for medical leave and terminated his employment.

After failing to reach a pre-litigation settlement, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Kaydon on behalf of Newsome. The complaint took the position that Newsome’s medical condition constituted a temporary disability under the ADA, and Newsome’s request for five weeks of medical leave was a request for a reasonable accommodation. Accordingly, the complaint also alleged that Kaydon illegally discriminated against Newsome in violation of the ADA when it both denied his request for medical leave and terminated his employment.

In addition to paying $38,000 in damages, the terms of the settlement also require Kaydon to: create protocols for identifying and considering requests for reasonable accommodation in compliance with the ADA; adopt, implement, and distribute formal, written policies regarding the ADA; provide annual ADA training to all managers and supervisors at the Sumter, SC facility; and periodically make compliance reports to the EEOC for the next two years.