Friday, July 06, 2012

Jackson, Tenn. | $150K settles disability bias suit

Federal workplace regulators last summer accused The Jackson Sun of violating U.S. disability law for firing a commercial print manager a week after he returned from a medical leave of absence after sustaining permanent spinal cord damage following back surgery.

Now the Tennessee paper will pay $150,000 and take other corrective steps under a one-year consent decree to settle the case, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which brought the suit in August under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In a statement, Faye Williams, a regional attorney for the agency's Memphis office, said: “This situation and lawsuit, like so many others, could easily have been averted if this company had simply made a good-faith effort at a reasonable accommodation."

The statement doesn't indicate how much of the $150,000, if any, will go to the disabled employee, David Dubois. It also doesn't say whether Dubois regained employment at the paper. Dubois was represented by Jackson attorney Michael Weinman.

Besides the monetary relief, the agreement requires that the Sun provide training on the ADA to all of its employees; provide a report to the EEOC outlining any requests for an accommodation and the company’s response to that request, and post a notice to employees about the lawsuit that includes the EEOC’s contact information.

The Sun also revised its serious leave/disability policy to clarify the process by which an employee should request an accommodation, the EEOC's statement says.

The EEOC issued its statement June 29; a Gannett Blog reader alerted me to it yesterday. Searching the Sun's website this morning, I didn't find anything about a settlement.

The paper's weekday circulation is 20,094, and Sunday is 31,676, according to the March 31 ABC report.

Jackson's was the second such case brought by the EEOC in August against a Gannett subsidiary. As of today, I haven't been able to determine find any resolution of the first one, which involved Gannett Media Technologies in Tempe, Ariz.

Earlier: Former circulation executive in Louisville, Ky., files age-discrimination suit over his dismissal.


  1. The paper didn't report on its own suit? I bet they would have if it was a local company. We wonder why people do not trust us?

  2. No one who has ever worked for Gannett is surpised the company acted so crappy.

    (You'll love life after Gannett!).

  3. $150,000 . . . they got off cheap, especially if they don't hire him back.

  4. I am sorry, but there are hundreds, thousands of these each and every week. If every paper reported that's all the news that would be included in the paper.

  5. Yeah I work at the pok journal for 21 year16 in IT and 5 in Finance and qwas fired or "Let GO' because I have an artificial hip and part of it needed to be revised and I was kicked out the door right beofre I could have the surgery. No money for COBRA. I spoke to a lawyer and he said Gannett forget it, you hgave the money to pay me up againt all their high powered lawyers... As you walk in the building of which they no long own it say "Here Shall the press and the peoples right Maintian..." Yeah right...The HR mgr has her husband working there and many other strange ethics activities go on. When I transfered from IT (Very scrict procedural) and went to Financial, I alredy knew how to perform most of the job duties and as I hand in monthly reports to mgmt, I was told "Oh no, do do it that way, change these numbers so the percentages are higher in some case and lower in other. I should not get into details as that would be un-ethical for my own actions. All I decsribed above is facts at there most level I could communiicate to get the point accross...

  6. 1:52 I don't think you mean there are "hundreds/thousands" of these every week across Gannett.

    Cases such as these, especially where a settlement is made public, aren't that common in Gannett.


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