Another “fish shot in a barrel:” an Albuquerque nursing home was just sued by the EEOC for allegedly violating the ADA.
An employee who has diabetes and heart conditions requested “a reasonable accommodation” – an eight-hour day instead of a longer one. Instead, the EEOC said, the company fired him — while he was on approved leave and recovering from a heart attack — because of his disabilities and/or because he requested accommodation.
“The law is clear:,” said the EEOC. “Employers have a legal obligation to explore reasonable accommodations for disabilities — and limiting Mr. Johnson to eight-hour days was certainly in that category. Companies cannot refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to their employees unless there is an undue hardship to the company.”
Moreover, the EEOC said, “Employers have an important responsibility to honor approved leave requests and refrain from discriminating based on disability while an employee is recuperating. One would expect that health and rehabilitation companies at least would understand that. We found, after our investigation, that terminating Mr. Johnson while he was out on approved leave and obtaining medical treatment violated the ADA (emphasis added).”
You must engage in an interactive process with a requesting employee to seek a reasonable accommodation. If you don’t, especially if you are a heath care or medical facility, you are inviting EEOC intervention.