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Workplace discrimination: Coca-Cola must pay worker $120,000

All employees in Massachusetts have basic rights as workers, one of which is the right not to have to endure discrimination. There are laws to protect workers with disabilities against workplace discrimination, namely, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Under these laws, employers must allow reasonable accommodations to any physically challenged workers. Employers may not treat qualified workers unfavorably due to their disabilities.

A former employee of a Massachusetts Coca-Cola bottling plant was recently awarded in excess of $120,000 by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in a case of disability discrimination. According to case documents, the worker secured a temporary position as a machine operator at the plant in 2007. His performance led to an offer of a permanent position within a short period.

However, when he underwent a required physical examination, he apparently mentioned to the physician the fact that he suffered permanent blindness in his left eye. The worker contended that he was dismissed from the temporary position soon after the medical examination. Furthermore, the offer of the full-time position was withdrawn at the same time.

The award of $120,000 included $45,636 in compensation for lost income and $76,000 for the emotional distress he suffered. Massachusetts workers with disabilities who have suffered workplace discrimination may benefit from consulting with an experienced employment law attorney. A lawyer can launch a thorough investigation into the allegations and pursue all options to protect the client's rights and fight to resolve the issue in a manner that will provide the maximum benefit to the worker.

Source: wwlp.com, "Westfield man wins Coca-Cola discrimination case", Oct. 30, 2015

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