$65,000 Settlement in Disability Discrimination Case Against a Hospice Care Provider, Training Ordered

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

 Would disability discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

Vitas Health Care Corporation of Florida, a Miami hospice care provider, will pay $65,000 and amend its reasonable accommodation policy to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) .  

The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 11-cv-24481-KMM, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida) charged that Vitas violated disability discrimination law by failing to reassign Registered Nurse Eveline Chery to a vacant position for which she was qualified after she became unable to perform the responsibilities of her current position due to her disability, high blood pressure.  Instead, Vitas required her to compete for the position with other applicants.  She applied and competed for the vacancy, but was not selected by Vitas.  

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

Soon after EEOC filed its lawsuit, Vitas agreed to amend its policy to include reassignment to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation.  Further, Vitas agreed to provide training to its managers and human resources personnel, and to voluntarily provide information to EEOC concerning its handling of disability discrimination complaints for two years.

Malcolm Medley, director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office, added, “Under the law, it is incumbent upon employers to accommodate an employee’s request for an accommodation when it would not impose an undue hardship.  We’re glad Vitas worked with us to reach this settlement; it provides employees with disabilities an opportunity to be productive members of the work force, and presents a win-win situation for everyone.”

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