EEOC Recovers $190K for Nurse Fired Because She Needed Extended Medical Leave for Cancer

Had this employer given its employee just two more months of medical leave to deal with her cancer, it would not have had a disability bias lawsuit on its hands and as a result might also have $200,000 more in its coffers.

It’s going to cost a nationwide health provider $190,000 to get out from under an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit alleging it fired and refused to rehire a long-term nurse who needed more medical leave to complete her cancer treatment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit in July 2014 against Dialysis Clinic Inc. According to the employer, 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 charged.

Providing an extended medical leave can be a reasonable accommodation, the EEOC pointed out in the announcement of the settlement.

“As a nurse, you understand that sometimes the healing process takes time,” said the nurse, Francisca Lee. “I am pleased to know that Dialysis Clinic will now take steps to ensure that employees can take the time they need for medical reasons without having to worry about losing their jobs.”

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