Last January, we posted about a newly-filed EEOC lawsuit which alleged that a nursing care facility offered two part-time positions to an applicant who is deaf (dietary aide/assistant cook). The claim was that when he was called in for a follow-up interview with different managers he was “grilled about his ability to communicate,” after which he was informed that the facility had “decided to pursue more experienced candidates.”
Now the employer has agreed to pay the price — $75,000 in settlement — for failing to judge job applicants with disabilities “on their ability to do the job and  not be rejected based on preconceived, unfounded notions about their limitations,” as an EEOC attorney put it.
It’s been awhile since we used our “shooting fish in a barrel” mantra as a way of describing the EEOC’s targeting of heath care providers for disability discrimination claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”).” We zero in on all lawsuits filed by the EEOC against medical professionals and health care facilities for alleged violations of the ADA, and have suggested many times that the EEOC targets these facilities for disability discrimination claims likely because they are fairly easy marks, and make good PR.
In fact, a good many, if not most of the ADA case filings we have seen recently are against medical or health care facilities. Think about it, because the EEOC does — how do you suppose the public reacts to doctors and clinics, there to treat the sick and injured, being sued for allegedly discriminating against their own employees or applicants who are sick or injured?
The EEOC has said many times that: “Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).”
So, once again, health care providers must be extra careful when it comes to the ADA — train, train, train your employees well!