Another fish shot in a barrel by the EEOC!

Chalk up another fish shot in a barrel by the EEOC.  Another low hanging fruit plucked!

To anyone who reads this blog, you know that I keep track of the cases in which the EEOC zeros in on health care providers who allegedly violate the Americans With Disabilities Act or The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of Title VII. You know – doctors, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc.

Why the fixation? Because it’s so easy for the EEOC to score points going after the “caring professionals” who the EEOC claims discriminates against those with disabilities or who are pregnant.

My most recent relevant post was in January when I asked (again):

“What is it about health and medical care facilities that brings down the heavy hand of the EEOC so often, alleging ADA and pregnancy discrimination? Is it that the helping profession somehow has an innate bias against the disabled and against pregnant women, and discriminates more than other employers?”

Not likely.

“Or, could it be,” I said, “that the EEOC sees such health care folks as fat, juicy targets — for example, accusing the helping profession, which is there to treat the sick, disabled and pregnant, of disability discrimination surely attracts the inevitable sanctimonious media attention. Alleging that doctors discriminate on the basis of disability against the very folks that they are there to minister is sure to bolster a somewhat battered EEOC image.”

Now comes the latest – payment of $15,000 by St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center in Indianapolis to settle an EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit. The EEOC alleged that an employee with lifting restrictions of indefinite duration caused by her disabilities was required to take leave at reduced pay despite her request to continue working.  Even though the Hospital had a vacant position for which she was qualified she was nonetheless fired.

Uh oh.  Can anyone say “reasonable accommodation?”


Said an EEOC attorney: “This lawsuit demonstrates that employers should be aware of their obligation to provide a transfer as a reasonable accommodation for employees who are qualified individuals with disabilities.”

That goes double for the helping professions!

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]