“Low hanging fruit.” Like “shooting fish in a barrel.” Call it what you will, but “’shooting fish in a barrel’ is our way of describing the EEOC’s clear targeting of heath care providers for disability discrimination claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”).” See our post on December 13, 2013 entitled “When Will Medical Providers Learn Not To Be ‘Fish In A Barrel’ To Be Shot By The EEOC?,” and cases and commentary in our posts of August 3, 2013, September 6, 2013, and October 19, 2013 and January 9, 2014.
How do you think the public reacts to doctors and clinics, who are there to treat the sick and injured, being sued for allegedly discriminating against their own employees who are sick or injured? It is a PR bonanza for the EEOC — for example, in announcing that the EEOC just settled another of these cases, an EEOC attorney said that “A health care facility should especially understand the importance of non-discrimination regardless of disabilities.”
Last April we reported on a newly filed EEOC lawsuit which alleged that a Florida hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying the request of a doctor with epilepsy for an accommodation — a schedule change.
The complaint charged that the doctor “suffered fatigue that led to recurring epileptic seizures as a result of being required to regularly work 9-1/2 to 12 hours a day. … [she] was hired with the understanding that she would not be required to exceed an eight-hour work day. … [her] job duties included assisting and attending to patients, [and d]epending on the number of surgeries in a day, her schedule could start as early as 5 a.m. and end about 5 p.m.”
After (only) a year of litigation, the EEOC reported today that the hospital has just settled the lawsuit – for $215,000.
As we said this past January about another such case — chalk up another poor fish shot in the barrel by the EEOC.