U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Medical Provider Refused Employee's Request for Leave Because of Arthritis And Fired Her Instead, Federal Agency Charges
DETROIT - Detroit Community Health Connection, a medical services provider serving the Detroit metropolitan region, violated federal law by both denying a disabled employee a reasonable accommodation and firing her because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Gloria Bowens worked for Detroit Community Health Connection as a medical biller. Bowens requested a two-week leave of absence to accommodate her rheumatoid arthritis. Detroit Community Health Connection denied her leave request and discharged her because of her disability.
Denying a disabled employee a reasonable accommodation that does not pose an undue hardship violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (EEOC v. Detroit Community Health Connection, Civil Case No.: 2:13-cv-12801) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC's lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief-including a court order prohibiting Detroit Community Health Connection from failing to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees in the future.
One of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan is for the agency to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA. The EEOC reiterates that leave can constitute a reasonable accommodation with this lawsuit.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.