In a case in Indiana, a hospital recently paid $15,000 to settle a lawsuit regarding the hospital’s failure to provide a disabled employee with a reasonable accommodation. Specifically, the hospital did not permit the employee to transfer to a vacant position for which she was able to work.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a disability discrimination lawsuit on behalf of the employee.
The facts of the case
The employee, due to her disability, was no longer able to perform the lifting duties that were part of her job. The hospital required that she take a leave of absence at reduced pay, but she wanted to continue working.
There was a vacant position for which she was qualified and which she could perform. Instead, the hospital fired her, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit.
The Americans With Disabilities Act to the rescue
According to an EEOC press release, the EEOC brought the suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual because of disabilities.
“Under the ADA, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability unless the employer can demonstrate the accommodation would impose an undue hardship,” the press release said. “Transfer to a vacant position for which the employee is qualified can be a reasonable accommodation.”
The lawsuit was filed in September 2017 with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Vigilance is required
After decades of education and information regarding the rights of the disabled in the workplace, you would think that episodes like this one wouldn’t happen anymore. But they do.
It is crucial to hold employers accountable when they don’t obey the law regarding the disabled. If you have questions regarding disability discrimination, contact an attorney who has knowledge and experience with disability cases.