NUMMI/Toyota Pays CA Workers $6M in Class Action Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement
September 5, 2011
As our attorneys reported in a recent Costa Mesa, California employment lawyers blog post, California's last auto plant, New United Motors & Manufacturing (NUMMI) and its parent company, Toyota Motor Corp. were sued last year in a class action lawsuit, for allegedly denying comprehensive severance agreements to disabled workers who had sustained employment-sustained injuries, keeping them from working at the plant prior to the closure.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who filed the discrimination lawsuit on behalf of the workers, NUMMI decided to contribute to a $6 million settlement fund last month, to resolve the complaints against the company for federal employment law violations.
The class action lawsuit accused NUMMI of denying disabled employees who were on medical leave severance benefits and transitional services that other employees received when the plant was closed in April of 2010. After the plant closed, the employees reportedly received a severance package that was based on whether they worked during the final six months of the plant's operation, as well as their years of service with the company.
The EEOC reportedly received a number of complaints from former employees who were on medical leave at the time of the plant's closing, alleging that they were not offered any severance benefits. The EEOC was also informed by the employees that while they were physically capable of returning to work during the severance period, they were denied reinstatement with the company. The result led the disabled workers on medical leave to be ineligible for the amount of severance compensation that factored into their years of service--many of which had worked for NUMMI for 25-30 years, and suffered losses of around $38,000 each.
The lawsuit accused NUMMI of not making reasonable accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to many of the employees, enabling them to go back to work, and for refusing to give them severance packages that were offered to the other working employees.
The ADA protects disabled employees from employment discrimination in hiring, firing, compensation, job training and other terms, privileges and conditions of employment.
According to the Associated Press, NUMMI will give $3.8 million and Toyota will give $2.2 million to a settlement fund for all workers who were not given the severance benefits. If approved by a federal judge, the settlement could bring the workers each around $31,000.
Contact Howard Law, PC today for questions about your California labor and employment rights. Call today for a free consultation with our attorneys at 1-800-872-5925.
Workers on medical leave when California's last auto plant closed win $6M in back bonuses, Associated Press/Washington Post, August 18, 2011
$6 Million Settlement for NUMMI Workers, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, August 18, 2011
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