Shame on The Cash Store for firing Sean Reilly because he had bipolar disorder.
After being a model employee for the parent company of The Cash Store, Cottonwood Financial, he asked for some time off in order to deal with his bipolar disorder after having worked for the company for about 6 months. They denied his request, and then fired him shortly thereafter. Reilly was up-front about his disorder before he was even hired, although there’s no requirement to tell a potential employer about any medical condition you may have — including bipolar disorder.
Judge Edward Shea of the US District Court for Eastern Washington agreed with Reilly that he was fired for his bipolar disorder — not for the half-dozen different rationales Cottonwood Financial had given. The judge said such rationales were merely a pretext for their discrimination.
Reilly received $6,500 in back wages, plus an additional $50,000 for emotional pain and suffering.
The Cash Store is one of those payday loan companies that charge customers huge fees to cash a paycheck. It caters to individuals who can’t, for whatever reasons, have a bank account.
After being fired in February 2007, Reilly filed a lawsuite with the EEOC:
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [...] argued that the company had violated the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), both of which outlaw firing an employee due to disability and prohibit adverse employment decisions motivated, even in part, by ill will toward an employee’s real or perceived disability or request for an accommodation.
The judge agreed with the EEOC, after a four-day bench trial. “The court also issued a three-year injunction, requiring The Cash Store to train its managers and human resources personnel on anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws.”
Maybe this’ll send a clear message to any business — large or small — that wants to fire someone solely because their mental disorder may mean the employer needs to be a little more flexible with that employee.
It’s against the law to not make reasonable accommodations for an employee who asks for them. This win for someone who was discriminated against because of their bipolar disorder demonstrates quite clearly that such backwards practices will not be tolerated.
Read the full story: Judge Rules In Favor of Fired Employee With Bipolar Disorder
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Apr 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2012). Employee With Bipolar Disorder Wins Discrimination Case. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/04/06/employee-with-bipolar-disorder-wins-discrimination-case/