Low Hanging Fruit: Take 967

Ok, this is a little different than the usual. Only a little.

This particular health care provider which the EEOC nailed for $950,000 provides such care nationwide for jails and corrections facilities, not the public. But the takeaways are the same.

I hope readers can by now in my refrain: “the EEOC likes to target health care providers for alleged violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”).  It’s like picking low hanging fruit!”

In this case, the company allegedly:

– refused to accommodate – and fired – employees with disabilities who exhausted their leave under the company 30-day medical leave policy and/or the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

– required employees with disabilities to be “100% healed or to be without any medical restrictions” before they could return to work;

– subjected employees to a hostile work environment due to their disabilities and/or need for accommodation;

– retaliated against some employees because they engaged in protected activity;

– terminated employees who had disabilities or needed accommodations; and

– refused to promote one employee because of her disability and/or need for accommodation.

Is that all?

The EEOC said that “Employers need to consider additional unpaid leave and reassignment as reasonable accommodations when an employee is unable to do their job even with reasonable accommodations,” and “Employers should understand that policies which require an employee to be 100% or without any medical restrictions violate the ADA because they don’t leave room for reasonable accommodations. Employers should also remember that leave policies must be administered consistent with the need to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. We continue to see many employers with these problematic policies.”

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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]