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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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