(Shutterstock Photo)
(Shutterstock Photo)

This isn’t the first time Circle K has been accused of violating labor laws. 

Circle K, headquartered in Tempe, has agreed to pay $8 million to resolve disability, pregnancy, and retaliation discrimination charges. 

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined that there was reasonable cause to believe the convenience-store chain denied employees accommodations and, in some cases, retaliated against them, forced them to take unpaid leave, or fired them.

Part of the company’s payment will go to a fund to be paid out to impacted workers who were employed there between July 10, 2009, and September 26, 2022. 

Employees who were denied accommodations for pregnancy or disability and fired during that period may be eligible for compensation. Those who may qualify are asked to contact the EEOC v Circle K Settlement Administrator, JND Legal Administration, by calling 1-844-633-0691 or emailing info@EEOC-ADA-PDA-Settlement.com.

The company will also be required to:

  • Update policies
  • Appoint a coordinator to oversee accommodations requests
  • Conduct surveys and exit interviews, including questions on accommodations
  • Have all employees participate in anti-discrimination training 
  • Make performance evaluations for management include compliance with discrimination laws 

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“When employers have rigid maximum leave policies with no flexibility to give additional leave for a disability or pregnancy-related reason, they are in serious danger of running afoul of the law,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office said in a press release. “Employers who don’t give current employees a reassignment to an open position after the employer decides there is no reasonable accommodation available in the current position are also in danger of violating the law.”

This isn’t the first time Circle K has been accused of violating labor laws. 

A Center for Public Integrity report from last year highlighted the company as one of the worst offenders for wage theft. 

In 2019, the company settled a lawsuit for $8.3 million over failure to pay more than 1,100 store managers overtime.

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