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DaimlerChrysler And UAW Settle Disability Discrimination Suit With Workers
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 2, 2003

KOKOMO, INDIANA--DaimlerChrysler Corp. agreed to pay a total of $100,000 to 10 employees who had accused the automaker, and United Auto Workers Local 685, of violating their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission filed the civil action in March 2001, accusing the company and the union of denying transfer opportunities to employees with disabilities in violation of the ADA and the collective-bargaining agreement.

In Wednesday's consent decree, DaimlerChrysler and UAW 685 were ordered to stop the practice of denying transfers due to physical disabilities and to post its new policy on bulletin boards inside the transmission plant. Under the new policy, employees that want to transfer will be entitled to job assignments based on their abilities and job requirements, in accordance with the collective-bargaining agreement.

The company and union must also provide sensitivity training to workers within the next 6 months, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

"That's wonderful," said Martha Watson, 56, one of 10 workers to be paid $10,000 under the settlement agreement. "This couldn't have come at a better time for me."

Six years ago, the company let Watson go from her job of 10 years because she had carpal tunnel syndrome in her hands and arms.

"After I was hurt they told me I couldn't have a job any more," she said. "When I went on sick leave to get more surgery, they said once my hands and arms are fixed I can retain my job."

Instead of giving Watson her job back, the company gave her a 10-year retirement package, allowing her just $400 a month.

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