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Supervalu Inc. will pay $3.2 million to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit with employees at its Jewel-Osco chain in the Chicago area workers.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Minneapolis-based grocer in 2009, alleging that disabled employees were fired after medical leaves as a matter of policy, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported. According to the EEOC, about 1,000 employees were fired under the policy since 2003.
Jewel-Osco will pay about $29,000 to each of 110 former workers, and will also train managers on disability accommodations, the Journal reported. The chain will also hire consultants to evaluate job descriptions, according to a consent decree signed by Chief U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman of the court’s Northern Illinois district.
Jewel-Osco spokeswoman Karen May said in a statement that Supervalu believed it complied with the law but settled to avoid a costly legal battle.
“Supervalu and Jewel-Osco do not discriminate on the basis of disability. In fact, Jewel-Osco has been consistently recognized for its efforts to hire and accommodate people with disabilities, receiving awards from multiple advocacy organizations and being named one of the top employers in Illinois for people with disabilities by the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services,” May said.