Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center (“CBHC”), pays $309,000 to a former employee to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) lawsuit. According to published accounts the company refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to employee Pamela Perry and then retaliated against her by refusing to rehire her after she was laid off. As a result of this, the EEOC filed a lawsuit based on violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA“), which prohibits employers from refusing to provide applicants and employees with reasonable accommodations unless it causes the employer an undue hardship.
Perry requested permission to wear athletic shoes to work in June 2002 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disability which caused numbness, pain and tingling in her feet. CBHC allowed Perry to wear athletic shoes for a few years, but later disciplined her for wearing the shoes. When Perry’s symptoms worsened, she requested additional reasonable accommodations, which CBHC denied. Two days after Perry wrote a letter to CBHC complaining about its refusal to accommodate her, she was laid off. The EEOC also alleged that CBHC then retaliated against Perry by refusing to hire her when she applied for a vacant position she had performed for a majority of her 23 years of employment. This type of conduct is really troubling and I can’t understand what the company was thinking. You can see how much money a dumb decision like this costs.
“We are pleased that this decree provides full relief to Ms. Perry and will also prevent this type of discrimination in the future against other employees at CBHC.” said EEOC attorney Andrea G. Baran