Pepsi Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit – EEOC Press Release

 SAN FRANCISCO — The Pepsi  Bottling Group, Inc. (NYSE: PBG) agreed to pay $120,000 and implement  preventive measures to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced  today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Pepsi terminated Eldridge Davis, a  driver at its Hayward, Calif., facility, for “job abandonment and  violation of the company attendance policy,” even though Davis had followed  proper procedure to inform his supervisor and the company that he could not  finish his route due to his disability and needed to take medical leave.

Davis, age 48, had worked for Pepsi since October 1996  and was promoted to driver in December 1999.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)  prohibits disability discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable  accommodations to employees with disabilities. This settlement resolves EEOC v. Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc., CV 09-4594 EMC, filed in 2009 in  U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Under the terms of the consent decree settling  the suit, Pepsi agreed to implement training on anti-discrimination laws, post a  notice at the work site on the settlement and other injunctive relief, in  addition to paying Davis  $120,000.

“Medical  leave is a widely recognized accommodation, and in Mr. Davis’s case, could  easily have been granted, avoiding the loss of a valuable and experienced  employee,” said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney  William R. Tamayo. “Since recent  amendments to the ADA  have broadened the definition of disability, forward-thinking employers may  want to re-evaluate their policies on workplace accommodations. Studies show that reasonable accommodations  are frequently no- or low-cost, with the added benefit of improving  productivity and morale, reducing turnover and building a diverse and loyal work  force.”

According  to the company’s web site, http://www.pbg.com, Somers, N.Y.-based The Pepsi  Bottling Group, Inc. is the world’s largest manufacturer, seller and  distributor of Pepsi-Cola beverages, with operations in the United States, Mexico,  Canada, Russia, Spain,  Turkey and Greece and more  than 70,000 employees worldwide. The  company produces and sells more than 1.7 billion cases of beverages each year.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on  its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

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