EEOC Sues Dialysis Clinic Over Leave Policy

Once again the EEOC is taking on an employer over its application of a medical leave policy. This time it is nationwide healthcare provider Dialysis Clinic Inc. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit filed today in California, the clinic violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by firing and refusing to rehire a long-term nurse who needed more medical leave to complete her cancer treatment.

The EEOC alleges that DCI notified the nurse by mail that she was being terminated for exceeding the time limit dictated by its medical leave policy. DCI took this action even though the nurse was on approved medical leave and was cleared by her doctor to return to work without restrictions in less than two months.

In this situation, the employer has a duty to offer a reasonable accommodation unless undue hardship would result.

The nurse was told that she would have to reapply for open positions,  but when she did apply over two months later, she was rejected, and not long after, DCI hired a newly licensed nurse, the EEOC is alleging.

“Given the ADA’s mandate, I would urge employers to be flexible concerning leave extensions if it causes no undue hardship,” said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo. “Ms. Lee had over 30 years’ experience in dialysis treatment and really wanted to work. Our investigation showed that she only needed two more months to return to work. Why sacrifice a valuable employee with a good record over an arbitrary time limit?”

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement of the lawsuit.

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