Alabaster thrift store settles lawsuit with EEOC

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

America’s Thrift Stores will pay $50,000 and will be required to train all of its employees on the Americans With Disabilities Act after the company settled a lawsuit brought against its Alabaster store.

According to a consent decree filed on Jan. 23 in U.S. District Court, America’s Thrift Stores must pay $50,000 to Jenny Grimes, a former employee at the Alabaster America’s Thrift Stores locations, to settle the lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit against America’s Thrift Stores in September 2011, claiming the Alabaster America’s Thrift Stores location did not “provide (Grimes) with a reasonable accommodation of her disability,” and claimed the thrift store discharged Grimes “from her employment because of her disability in violation of ADA provisions.”

According to court documents, Grimes “has a physical impairment which substantially limits several major life activities, including the operation of her musculoskeletal system, lifting and reaching.”

America’s Thrift Stores claimed it “terminated (Grimes) because she could not perform the essential functions of her job,” according to court documents.

According to the motion dismissing the lawsuit, the settlement “shall not be construed as an admission by (America’s Thrift Stores) of any violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition to paying Grimes $50,000, America’s Thrift Stores also agreed to “develop and implement comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure that applicants and employees are not subject to discrimination made unlawful by the ADA,” according to court documents.

The settlement also requires America’s Thrift Stores to submit semi-annual reports to the EEOC outlining the ADA training sessions the thrift store holds for its employees. The settlement requires America’s Thrift Stores to hold ADA training sessions for its employees once a year.

“All newly hired managers, human resources employees and recruiters shall  be required to complete this training within fourteen days of their start date, irrespective of their participation in the annual training,” read the settlement.