How could we miss it?  Another EEOC suit under the ADA against a health care related company which we failed to notice!  Another “low-hanging fruit!”

We published a post yesterday about the settlement of an ADA case brought by the EEOC in California against Kaiser Permanente, the US’s largest managed care organization.

But we overlooked  — OMG! – a second EEOC press release which announced a new ADA suit against The Lash Group, a Charlotte, N.C. company which, according to its website, “strategically designs, delivers and continuously improves patient access and adherence programs to ensure patients receive the best possible care. …”

The claim?  That it refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to – and instead fired — an employee with post-partum depression, contending that it had filled her position.  It  refused to transfer her to vacant positions for which she was otherwise qualified but “forced her to find and compete for vacant positions within the company.”  She applied for three such positions but was fired.

post-partum depression : depressed mother pushing stroller - post partum depression

By now health care providers and facilities should know that the EEOC zeroes in on ADA claims, and that one of the six national priorities which it has trumpeted is the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations.

As readers know, we like to print the comments of involved EEOC attorneys because they state both the law (as they see it) and point out the direction in which they are going.  In this case, below are two such comments:

“While pregnancy itself is not a disability under the ADA, some women develop pregnancy-related disabilities, such as post-partum depression, and are entitled to reasonable accommodations unless the employer can prove that doing so would be a significant expense or difficulty.”

“It is incumbent on employers to provide reasonable accommodations for women who need them due to pregnancy-related disabilities, such as extending unpaid leave or transferring the employee to a vacant position for which she is qualified. Forcing an employee to try to find a new position within the company on her own does not meet the company’s affirmative obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation by transferring her to a vacant job.”