7-Eleven Oklahoma Faces EEOC Challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit on Sept. 30, alleging Brown-Thompson General Partnership, dba 7-Eleven Stores in Oklahoma, violated federal law when it failed to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities at the company's warehouse and distribution center here.

According to EEOC's suit, Casey Crothers worked as a stocker at the distribution center. When his doctor placed him on short-term work restrictions due to a disability, Crothers asked for temporary transfer to a position that met his restrictions. 7-Eleven Stores told Crothers that because his restrictions were not related to an on-the-job injury, the company was not required to accommodate him. The company then fired Crothers because he was going to miss more than three days of work, the lawsuit said.

The EEOC alleges 7-Eleven Stores similarly failed to provide reasonable accommodations to other workers, denying temporary light or modified duty and terminating employees with disabilities who missed more than three days of work if they were not eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), stated the EEOC in a suit. The EEOC claims it filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, along with injunctive relief to prevent and address any future disability discrimination.

"While the Family and Medical Leave Act requires certain employers to provide leave to some employees, it is not the only law that requires leave," said James R. Neely, Jr., director of EEOC's St. Louis District Office. "Where leave is a reasonable accommodation for a medical condition covered by the ADA, an employer must provide it."

Oklahoma City-based 7-Eleven Stores in Oklahoma employs more than 1,200 people and operates more than 110 stores. It is not affiliated with Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. 

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