Phoenix, Arizona - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Friday that the Arizona Attorney General’s Division of Civil Rights Section (Division) entered into a consent decree to resolve a disability lawsuit filed by the Division, pursuant to the Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA), against Big Tex Trailer World, Inc., d/b/a Big Tex Trailers (Big Tex).
On May 30, 2019, the Division filed a lawsuit alleging Big Tex violated the ACRA when it: (1) failed to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical limitations of an otherwise qualified individual in violation of A.R.S. §41-1463(F)(4); and (2) discharged an employee on the basis of disability in violation of A.R.S. §41-1463(B)(1).
Big Tex owns and operates numerous retail stores nationwide where it sells, rents, and services trailers for a variety of industries. The defendant has three locations in Arizona -- Mesa, Phoenix, and Tucson.
The Charging Party, Ed Litzinger, is a retired detective. While employed as a Sales Representative in Big Tex’s Tucson location, Litzinger underwent hip replacement surgery and returned to work with the assistance of a cane. Litzinger filed a charge with the Division on May 31, 2018, alleging that Big Tex would not reasonably accommodate his return to work condition and subsequently terminated him due to his disability.
“Everyone has a right to work in a place free from unlawful discrimination,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “The Arizona Civil Rights Act ensures that people with disabilities have the same opportunity and right of economic self-sufficiency as all Arizonans. The terms of this consent decree serve to remind all employers of their responsibility to uphold the law.”
Under the consent decree, Big Tex paid Litzinger $45,000 and, among other terms, further agreed to:
- Confirm or revise its policies and procedures so that the policies and procedures expressly prohibit employment discrimination and retaliation and affirm that Big Tex will provide a reasonable accommodation to employees in accordance with applicable state and/or federal employment laws;
- Confirm or revise its reasonable accommodation policies and procedures to be in strict accordance with the ACRA and/or federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act;
- Require civil rights training for Big Tex’s human resources leader and human resources personnel with direct responsibility over Arizona employees and managers and regional managers in Arizona who have direct supervisory responsibility over employees located in Arizona;
- Disseminate policies and procedures in an employee handbook and submit to the Attorney General’s Office all Arizona employees’ acknowledgement of receipt of the handbook within one month of the signed date of acknowledgement;
- Keep posted in a conspicuous location an Equal Employment Opportunity poster at each of its Arizona locations; and
- Maintain employment records related to its Arizona business operations, subject to audit by the Arizona Attorney General’s Division of Civil Rights Section. The records will include all documents relating to any complaints of discrimination based on disability; all documents relating to any investigation of any complaint of discrimination based on disability; all documentation related to requests for reasonable accommodation, Big Tex’s interactive process, and Big Tex’s reasonable accommodation determination.
This case was overseen by Civil Litigation Division Chief Counsel Joseph Sciarrotta and Civil Rights Section Chief Counsel Rebekah Browder, and handled by Civil Rights Unit Chief Counsel Leslie Ross, Senior Litigation Counsel Chris Carlsen, and Assistant Attorney General Kristi Mehes.