Our most recent post on the issue was entitled “Two More ADA Lawsuits Filed By The EEOC: Guess Which Companies Got Sued?” The title refers to our repeated posts asking why the EEOC seems to target health care companies for ADA lawsuits.
What is it about health and medical care facilities that brings down the heavy hand of the EEOC so often, alleging ADA and pregnancy discrimination? Is it that the helping profession somehow has an innate bias against the disabled and against pregnant women, and discriminates more than other employers? We do not think so.
Or, could it be that the EEOC sees such health care folks as fat, juicy targets — for example, accusing the helping profession, which is there to treat the sick, disabled and pregnant, of disability discrimination surely attracts the inevitable sanctimonious media attention. Alleging that doctors discriminate on the basis of disability against the very folks that they are there to minister is sure to bolster a somewhat battered EEOC image.
A few readers tried their hand at explanations, and put the responsbility squarely on the companies, whereas we have generally focussed on the EEOC’s penchant for attacking “low hanging fruit,” i.e., easy pickins.
Matthew Billips, an attorney in the Atlanta area:
“Health care companies are, in my experience, the worst offenders with regard to the FMLA and the ADA. I received a seven figure award against Northside Hospital in Atlanta in 1999 and since then have had numerous ADA claims against healthcare facilities.”
Richard Seymour, a DC area lawyer:
“I cannot help but wonder if these EEOC defendants have regular employment law counsel representing them and advising them on their policies and practices. If the facts are as alleged by the EEOC, these cases should have been prime candidates for settlement.
There can be many a slip between the allegation and the proof, of course, so I would be very curious to see the results of the EEOC’s litigation against health-care providers. If the defendants were represented by counsel, and a judge or hury found that they actually did these things, they need to strengthen their representation. If the EEOC has been losing these cases, however, it needs to recalibrate its targeting.”
David Webbert, an attorney in the Lewiston/Auburn, Maine area:
“My experience is that health care providers are particularly likely to make the big mistake of rejecting out of hand any additional medical leave as an accommodation once the employee has used up all FMLA leave.”