20-year employee signed medical release to keep job.
A San Francisco-area woman with fibromyalgia has been awarded a settlement of $75,000 from her employer, plus the right to limit her work schedule to 40 hours a week, according to a January 28 report in the San Francisco Chronicle.*
The disability discrimination suit, filed on behalf of Janet Stege against Georgia-Pacific by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after attempts at a settlement failed and the company reportedly took the position that overtime was an essential part of the job, noted that:
• Stege, who has worked for the international forest-products company since 1988 as a janitor and production line worker, had been allowed to limit her schedule to the traditional 40-hour work week based on her doctor’s recommendation.
• But when the company closed its South San Francisco plant in 2004 and transferred her to another plant location, she was required both to sign a medical release and work overtime. The 40-hour limit had allowed her “to continue to work hard for the company and still manage my health issues,” Stege said in a statement released through the EEOC in 2007.* “My supervisors were pleased with my performance. So when my accommodation was revoked, I was shocked and devastated.”
• Stege subsequently experienced deteriorating health but continued working to keep her job, according to EEOC attorney Linda Ordonio-Dixon.