The EEOC just sued a Washington, D.C. hospital under the ADA for failing to accommodate, and firing, a disabled employee.
We have harped on the fact that the EEOC is keying in on disability cases, and especially targeting disability cases against health care providers. Indeed, an EEOC attorney just said that “This case reconfirms the EEOC’s commitment to enforcing the federally protected rights of qualified employees who happen to have disabilities.”
The employee, “a medical assistant in the hospital’s Center for Life, a unit that provides obstetrical and gynecological care for women and expectant mothers” incurred a disability-related injury and upon her return to full-time work – for which she was cleared medically — she required a cane to walk.
The hospital would not permit her to work at any job, despite the fact that there were open positions which would have been an accommodation for her disability, “until she received medical clearance to return to work without the use of a cane.”
The hospital placed her on medical leave and then fired her when her leave expired.
An EEOC attorney said that “The need for an assistive device should not be an automatic bar to employment. Where an employee is qualified, ready and willing to work, the employer has a legal duty provide a reasonable accommodation to make that employment possible.”