Senior centre latest in string of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuits

Health and wellness director fired over accommodation request for fibromyalgia, lawsuit alleges

Brookdale Senior Living Communities violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it fired Bernadine Adams, then the health and wellness director, a lawsuit alleges.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in a lawsuit filed Sept. 24, claim Brookdale further violated the ADA by retaliating against Adams by firing her for requesting a reasonable accommodation for her disability and for filing a charge of discrimination with the agency.

Such alleged conduct violates the ADA, which prohibits discrimination and retaliation against employees and applicants with disabilities. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

EEOC suits against health care facilities for violating the ADA are on the rise, causing speculation the committee is seeking to make an example out of the industry.

The lawsuit states:

1. Reasonable accommodations and the interactive process are essential and necessary parts of the process assuring people with disabilities those same opportunities;

2. The EEOC stands ready to assist disabled employees and applicants whenever they believe their rights have been violated or they suffer retaliation for exercising their rights. Employers are responsible for complying with the employment practices lawfully required by the ADA.

In another suit filed against a health care facility, an EEOC attorney said it would be assumes a health care organization would be the employer least likely to fire someone because he or she was recovering from serious surgery.
"Such conduct is not only cruel and insensitive, it’s illegal, and the EEOC is here to combat it.”

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