DFEH Settles Employment Discrimination Case Against Compton Unified School District
April 24, 2018
For Immediate Release
Compton Unified to Pay More Than $200,000 to Elementary School Teacher Who Was Denied Reasonable Accommodation for Her Disability
Sacramento – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has reached a settlement in an employment discrimination case with Compton Unified School District (Compton Unified) involving an elementary school teacher who alleged the district refused to provide reasonable accommodation for her disability.
The complainant, who worked at Compton Unified for more than 16 years, filed a complaint with DFEH in December 2016 alleging that Compton Unified failed to accommodate her work restriction on reaching above shoulder level. Compton Unified concluded—after a single brief meeting—that writing on the board is an essential function of teaching second grade and that the complainant could not be accommodated. Compton Unified’s actions forced the complainant to remain on leave until she exhausted all her leave credits and her employment was terminated.
DFEH found cause to believe a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act had occurred. After a mandatory mediation, Compton Unified agreed to pay the complainant $200,932.63, including compensation for her lost wages and benefits, and emotional distress. The complainant will also receive the service credit she would have earned had she been allowed to continue working, as well as credit for her lost sick leave.
“When employees have disability-related restrictions, the law requires an interactive process, and that process is more than a short meeting without discussion of possible accommodations,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “This settlement demonstrates why employers must ensure their agents understand what an effective interactive process requiresin order to reasonably accommodate employees.
In addition to a monetary settlement, Compton Unified has agreed to provide interactive training on the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to its administrators, revise existing and implement new reasonable accommodation and interactive process policies, and display DFEH educational posters at school sites and administrative buildings.
Olivia Tran, Senior Staff Counsel, represented DFEH.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.