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HMSA settles $180K lawsuit over disabled employees' intermittent leave

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - 1/11/2020

Jan. 11--Hawaii Medical Service Association agreed to pay $180, 000 to settle a lawsuit alleging the insurer violated federal law by not allowing employees with disabilities in its customer relations department intermittent leave.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's disability discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court said HMSA failed to consider other accommodations available for those employees, forcing them to "either work without an accommodation or resign, " violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Under the settlement, the state's largest health insurer also agreed to revise its ADA compliance policies and procedures, provide training in employment discrimination law and create a centralized accommodation unit to track accommodation requests and discrimination complaints. HMSA declined comment.

HMSA General Counsel Jennifer Walker said the insurer denied the allegations.

"As the EEOC noted in their public comments on this case, HMSA is committed to supporting the Americans With Disabilities Act, " Walker said. "We've denied and continue to deny all of the allegations made by the EEOC of any wrong ­doing. However, a settlement was simply the best path forward for all involved in this case."

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