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Keystone RV ordered to pay nearly $100,000 in disability discrimination suit

The Truth - 5/31/2024

INDIANAPOLISGoshen-based Keystone RV will pay $95,460 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency said.

According to the lawsuit, Keystone, a leading manufacturer of towable RVs, failed to accommodate a former painter, Brandon Meeks, when he needed time off to treat a hereditary condition. Such conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the court found. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency’s conciliation process.

U.S. District Judge Damon R. Leichty noted that this case “illustrates one reason why the Americans with Disabilities Act exists.” Leichty concluded that the company should have modified its attendance policy to accommodate Meeks’ need for disability-related leave. The judge also found that Keystone failed to meet its duty under the ADA to interact with Meeks about his accommodation request, including its obligation to ask for more information, if needed.

Keystone settled the EEOC’s suit with a court-approved public consent decree providing a $95,460 payment to Meeks, a two-year injunction against discrimination, and targeted relief including management training, posting notices, and revisions to its accommodation policy to prevent future violations of the ADA. Keystone will also report to the EEOC for two years to ensure compliance with the decree.

Before entering the decree on May 24, the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and entered partial judgment for the EEOC, finding Keystone liable for violating the ADA.

“If an employer can accommodate an employee’s need for leave without undue hardship, it cannot refuse that accommodation just because it has a strict attendance policy,” said Kenneth L. Bird, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Indianapolis. “Providing a reasonable amount of leave for medical treatment allows individuals with disabilities to stay in the workforce.”

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