ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After facing allegations of employment discrimination, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) has reached a settlement with the federal U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). PNM will pay $750,000.
A federal lawsuit against PNM alleged the utility company discriminated against employees with disabilities. The EEOC says PNM did not allow employees returning from medical leave to work unless they were released “full duty” or “without medical restrictions” and putting some employees on involuntary unpaid leave, which EEOC claims violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
PNM denies the allegations in the lawsuit. In a statement to KRQE News 13, they said:
PNM is pleased about the resolution of a lawsuit brought by the EEOC alleging ADA claims about reasonable accommodations. While PNM denies the allegations, we take our obligations under the ADA seriously. After engaging in extensive negotiations, both PNM and the EEOC have reached an agreement that reinforces PNM’s continued commitment to non-discrimination and compliance with the ADA in accommodating qualified individuals with a disability. PNM will build upon measures aimed at preventing discrimination and addressing the needs of qualified employees and applicants with a disability in the workplace. This includes enhancing policies, best practices and training programs focusing on the ADA. This agreement reflects our commitment to re-emphasize fostering a workplace culture that values diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunities for all employees. The resolution serves as an example of how organizations can collaborate with the EEOC to effect positive outcomes and promote equal opportunity.-PNM statement
In a settlement to resolve the lawsuit, PNM agreed to pay 10 individuals. In total, they will receive $750,000 in back pay and damages. PNM will also revise employment policies and train employees.