U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Nursing Home Failed to Provide Certified Nursing Assistant with Reasonable Accommodation and Discharged Her Because of Her Disability, Federal Agency Charges
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Camden Place Health & Rehab, LLC, a North Carolina limited liability company that operates a nursing home in Greensboro, N.C., unlawfully refused to accommodate a disabled employee and subsequently discharged her because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the lawsuit, Yvonne Quaynor worked for Camden Place as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Quaynor has asthma, a condition which affects her ability to breathe. The complaint alleges that around January 2010 Camden Place began requiring all of its CNAs to supervise residents during scheduled smoking breaks. Quaynor found that the secondhand cigarette smoke that she inhaled while supervising these breaks aggravated her asthma. The complaint alleges that Quaynor complained repeatedly to her supervisors that the cigarette smoke was aggravating her asthma and that in July 2010, after a particularly severe asthma attack, Quaynor brought a note from her doctor to Camden Place and asked to be excused from supervising the smoking breaks. The complaint further alleges that Camden Place denied Quaynor's request and Quaynor was subsequently terminated on July 26, 2010 for refusing to supervise the smoking breaks.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Camden Place Health & Rehab, LLC; Civil Action No. 1:12-CV-1370) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
"Employers have a duty to work with employees who request reasonable accommodations based on a disability," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District, which includes the EEOC's Raleigh Area Office, where Quaynor filed her discrimination charge. "The EEOC will vigorously prosecute cases where the employer refuses to provide a reasonable accommodation that would enable a person to perform his or her job."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. More information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.