Court rules settlement of disability discrimination claim waives all future rights
Pamela Sanders, a 25 year employee, became involved in a confrontation with the Department of Corrections after she failed to comply with a supervisor's "scheduling directives" that she claimed violated her flexible working hours arising from a disability determination. In August of 2010, the parties resolved the disciplinary procedure and Sanders' complaint by a formal settlement agreement that "waive[d]...any...claims, violations...or statutory rights...or legal claims she may have had ...limited to this matter." In August of 2011, Sanders filed a new claim, arguing that she had been denied fulltime status in retaliation against her for asserting her [PWDCRA] disability-act rights.
The DOC argued that Sanders could not pursue a claim because she had already waived all disabilty-related rights by the 2010 agreement. Sanders argued that the agreement applied only to the allegations contained in the prior claim and that it did not insulate the DOC from liability for future violations. Surprisingly, the Court held that because Sanders had raised disability, discrimination and harassment issues in the prior dispute, she had waived the right to claim a discrimination claim arising out of the Department's subsequent reduction of her hours from full- to part-time.