Federal employment officials charged a dairy processor for allegedly firing an employee rather than accommodate her disability at a Michigan facility.
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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cited Agropur Inc., a diary processor and U.S. subsidiary of Canadian-based Agropur Cooperative, for failing to provide a disabled employee with a reasonable accommodation, which resulted in her firing.

The employee worked at Agropur’s Grand Rapids location with approximately 175 other employees.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Agropur refused to accommodate the employee’s severe dyshidrotic eczema, a skin condition. While working for Agropur, the employee learned she was allergic to rubber and plastics. She requested a reasonable accommodation, including the ability to wear a different type of glove while working.

Instead of accommodating the employee, Agropur forced her to leave work when she had flare-ups. When she left work, she was penalized by receiving attendance points. Ultimately, Agropur fired her after she had accumulated attendance points that accrued as a direct result of the company’s failure to provide her with a reasonable accommodation.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. After attempting to reach a pre-litigation resolution through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan (EEOC v. Agropur, Inc., Case No. 1:21-cv-00765). The EEOC is seeking monetary relief for the employee and an injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in this type of conduct in the future.

Agropur Inc. is a dairy processor that produces cheese, whey products, and dairy ingredients with its approximately 2,800 employees located throughout the United States. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Agropur Cooperative, a Canadian-based dairy processor.

The EEOC’s Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

Dairy products and, in particular, grass-fed products are performing strongly post-covid in overseas markets.

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