Articles Posted in Americans With Disabilities Act

Published on:

Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $309,000

by Peter M. LaSorsa

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

Published on:

Paloma Blanca Health Care Associates LLC, Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $145,000

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Paloma Blanca Health Care Associates, LLC, pays $145,000 to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA“) discrimination lawsuit. The ADA lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). According to published accounts the company refused to reasonably accommodate Doug Johnson’s disabilities. The company then fired him because of his medical conditions and/or because he requested the reasonable accommodations he needed.

This case stemmed from a heart attack suffered by Johnson. After the heart attack, Johnson requested a reasonable accommodation for his disabilities, in the form of a request for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The company approved 12 weeks of FMLA leave for Johnson and notified him of their decision by letter dated Nov. 28, 2011. However, after only five weeks of FMLA leave, in a letter dated Jan. 5, 2012, the company notified Johnson that it had eliminated his position and were laying him off due to a “reduction in force” effective Dec. 31, 2011. The problem was no other employees were subjected to a reduction in force at that time. So the company was just making this up in order to terminate an employee rather than make a reasonable accommodation for him.

“Employers must address employee requests for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities and must assure that employment decisions are not based on them.” said EEOC Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill

Published on:

Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc. Pays $75,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., pays $75,000 to settle an Americans With Disabilities ACt (“ADA“) discrimination lawsuit. The ADA lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). The first step in filing a federal lawsuit is to file directly with the EEOC. In this case the company is alleged to have refused to hire a candidate for an assignment because that individual was HIV-positive. You may not take a negative job action against a perspective employee just because of his disability.

In this case Maxim Healthcare made a conditional job offer to the candidate that was contingent on completion of a health status certification. Maxim later refused to hire the candidate after receiving his medical evaluation which reflected his HIV-positive status but nonetheless provided that he was medically cleared to work.

“The ADA prohibits employers, including those in the health care field, from refusing to hire qualified individuals based on their disability, including HIV status.” Said EEOC attorney Debra M. Lawrence

Published on:

Chicago Based Doumak Pays $85,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Doumak, Inc., a longtime Chicago-area marshmallow manufacturer, pays $85,000 to resolve an Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA“) discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) on behalf of five individuals. Under the law, an employee may not be treated to different terms and conditions of employment based on their disability.

According to published accounts the company had capped the duration of leaves of absence at its Elk Grove Village and Bensenville, Ill., manufacturing facilities, without making appropriate exceptions for people with disabilities. The law requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. What is a reasonable accommodation is up to interpretation but there is a pretty good body of case law on the issue.

“Federal law requires employers to be reasonable and flexible in applying their workplace policies to people with disabilities,” said John Hendrickson, the EEOC regional attorney in Chicago.

Published on:

Princeton HealthCare Systems Pays $1.35 Million To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Princeton HealthCare System (“PHCS”) pays $1,350,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA“). According to published accounts PHCS’s fixed leave policy failed to consider leave as a reasonable accommodation, in violation of the ADA.

PHCS’s leave policy merely tracked the requirements of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), employee leaves were limited to a maximum of 12 weeks. PHCS’s policy meant that employees who were not eligible for FMLA leave were fired after being absent for a short time, and many more were fired once they were out more than 12 weeks.

“Employers must understand that fixed leave policies, by definition, limit the opportunity for the employee and employer to engage in the interactive process and determine whether leave may be a reasonable accommodation under the federal law.” said EEOC attorney Rosemary DiSavino

Published on:

EEOC Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $110,000

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Norfolk Southern Railway Company pays $110,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The laws was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA“). According to published accounts the company medically disqualified a track maintenance worker because of degenerative disc disease. The company fired him without doing an individualized assessment of whether he could perform the essential functions of his job.

After receiving treatment for his condition and being cleared to return to work by his physician, Norfolk Southern’s medical director disqualified him from his job and terminated him without first determining whether his medical condition actually affected his ability to perform the job. You cannot treat an employee different because of a medical condition, if they can still do the job. In this case, the company didn’t even give him a chance.

“A primary purpose of the ADA is to prevent employers from making assumptions, whether fueled by prejudice or ignorance, about what employees with disabilities can do in the workplace.” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins

Published on:

Christian Care Center Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $90,000

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Christian Care Center of Johnson City, Inc., pays $90,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) based on violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA“). This case involved an employee who was fired because of a medical condition. The EEOC is very vigilant in pursuing ADA type cases.

According to published documents, Christian Care Center violated federal law by firing an employee because the individual suffers from human immunodeficiency virus (“HIV”). The fired employee worked for Christian Care Center as a licensed practical nurse for more than a month. When the nursing home learned that the employee was HIV positive, the employee was immediately discharged. You can’t take a negative job action against an employee unless it is warranted. In this case, the negative job action was taken based on a medical condition.

“As part of that strategy, the president envisioned that the United States will become a place where people with HIV infections will be free from stigma and discrimination” said EEOC attorney Faye Williams.

Published on:

Direct Optical Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $53,000

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Direct Optical pays $53,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit that was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). The lawsuit was filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA“) on behalf of a female who needed a service dog at work. According to published accounts, Direct Optical denied an optician’s request for the reasonable accommodation to bring her service dog to work because of her generalized anxiety disorder. I will admit this is an unusual request but still valid.

The suit further alleges that after Direct Optical denied the request it began disciplining and ultimately discharged the employee because of her disability and in retaliation for her request. In this case the dog would alert her to oncoming panic attacks, helped alleviate symptoms during a panic attack, and could also do other tasks. The law requires the employer to provide a reasonable accommodation when asked for and backed up by medical documentation.

“This is a favorable resolution for everyone.” explained EEOC Trial Attorney Lauren Gibbs Burstein

Published on:

Health Care Company Settles ADA Lawsuit For $180,000

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Upper Chesapeake Health System, Inc. pays $180,000 to settle an American With Disabilities Act (“Act“) lawsuit. The discrimination and retaliation lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). According to documents which have been made public, Deborah Ropiski consistently received good performance evaluations and positive patient feedback during her 19 years of employment with the company.

The company failed to reassign Ropiski as a reasonable accommodation after it removed her from her position as a pulmonary function technologist . The company terminated Ropiski because of her disability and in retaliation for her requests for accommodations.
the company also failed to rehire Ropiski into a vacant position for which she was qualified because of her disability and in retaliation for her filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC.

“This is yet another case we brought involving a claim that an employer in the health care field refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability.” said EEOC attorney Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.

Published on:

Strad Oilfield Services Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $65,000

by Peter M. LaSorsa

Strad Oilfield Services pays $65,000 to settle an Americans With Disability Act (“ADA“) lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). According to the ADA you can’t treat an employee different based on her or her disability. A reasonable accommodation must be made to an employee who needs one and can support the accommodation with a doctors note.

In this case Strad fired an employee shortly after it learned of his diabetes, ignoring the fact that the employee was still able to perform the job according to a fitness-for-duty test. Many employers just don’t understand the discrimination laws in the country. It is important that employers follow the law and don’t treat employees differently.

“Employers who ignore the law’s requirement to make a good-faith effort to accommodate employees with disabilities are just causing more trouble for their own business.” said EEOC attorney Julie Schmid