HR Strange But True!
May 13, 2009

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission returns in the next item, but this time it is the one making accusations to warrant inclusion in this column. The agency says an employer discriminated against an employee who had cancer. The employer? A hospital.

In a lawsuit, the agency alleged that a former business manager of LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh needed a reasonable accommodation after she had surgery for cancer and underwent chemotherapy.

The agency says the hospital initially provided a reasonable accommodation to the woman but suddenly stopped and demanded that she return to work full-time with no restrictions.

The EEOC alleged that after she returned to work full-time, her supervisor substantially increased her workload, removed her full-time staff assistant, and subjected her to unwarranted work scrutiny. EEOC says the hospital ultimately fired her because of her disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The hospital has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle the EEOC's lawsuit. Under the settlement, the hospital will also train all employees regarding the ADA's prohibitions against disability discrimination. In settling the lawsuit, the hospital admitted no wrongdoing and continued to deny the allegations.

“It is particularly disturbing and sadly ironic when a healthcare facility, of all places, refuses to reasonably accommodate an employee's disability,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.

During fiscal year 2008, disability-discrimination complaints rose 10 percent to 19,453, the highest number of disability-bias complaints filed with the EEOC in 14 years.

Source: EEOC

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