Settlement in EEOC’s ADA Suit Against Hospital Over Nonaccommodation of Disabled Therapist

Another employer has thought better of fighting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in court over its denial of a reasonable accomodation to a disabled employee.

A Maryland hospital has settled for $179,576 an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit alleging it refused to grant a disabled therapist a reasonable accommodation and then fired him, the EEOC announced on April 27.

According to this lawsuit filed last September by the EEOC, nine years before starting working as a respiratory therapist at MedStar, Jerome Alston received a kidney transplant due to renal failure. As a result, he is required to take medication which compromises his immune system and increases his risk of infection.

Due to his weakened immune system, MedStar gave Alston a “work-around” which excused him from working in negative pressure rooms, which are isolation rooms with a mechanical ventilation system designed to trap infectious airborne materials, the EEOC said.

Pregnant employees were given similar work-arounds. In November 2013, however, when Alston requested such a work-around, MedStar refused and abruptly terminated him because of his disability, EEOC charged.

“Health care providers, like all employers, must be mindful of the obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation that allows an employee with a disability to remain employed,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. “It’s not only a good employment practice to retain loyal and productive workers; it’s required by federal law.”

I wrote about the lawsuit when it was filed last September.

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