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Carmel firm settles discrimination lawsuit for $90K

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A Carmel-based power-grid operator has agreed to pay $90,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit involving an employee who allegedly suffered from postpartum depression.

Midcontinent Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. also agreed to furnish other relief to settle the suit filed in 2011 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Thursday.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a MISO employee suffering from postpartum depression notified the company of her malady and requested leave time to resolve the condition. The woman was employed as a human resources coordinator at MISO’s facility at 701 City Center Drive in Carmel.

Although the leave was available under the company’s policies, MISO denied her request and fired her in 2010 for lack of attendance, according to the suit.

After being fired, the employee filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The agency filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, arguing that the depression was a disability covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition to the monetary relief ordered by the court, MISO is obligated to provide training to its employees on its obligations under the disabilities act, according to EEOC. The company also must provide annual reports to EEOC including details on how other requests for accommodation are handled by MISO.

MISO is a not-for-profit that directs the flow of electricity in 11 Midwestern states and Canada’s Manitoba province. It has about 850 full-time employees.

The settlement is intended to avoid the risks and costs of continued litigation, and does not constitute a judgment on the merits of the suit, according to the parties' consent decree.

Asked to comment on the settlement, a MISO spokesperson said via e-mail, "We believe this agreement is an affirmation of MISO's commitment to a diverse workplace where all employees are treated equally and fairly. We will continue to provide an environment that values ideas, promotes personal development and exposes our employees to a diverse group of talented peers."
 

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  1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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