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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
6-6-12

EEOC and Vitas Health Care Resolve Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for $65,000

Hospice Company Agrees to Amend Its Policy on Reasonable Accommodations

MIAMI, Fla. – Vitas Health Care Corporation of Florida, a Miami hospice care provider, will pay $65,000 and amend its reasonable accommodation policy to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  

The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 11-cv-24481-KMM, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida) charged that Vitas violated disability discrimination law by failing to reassign Registered Nurse Eveline Chery to a vacant position for which she was qualified after she became unable to perform the responsibilities of her current position due to her disability, high blood pressure.  Instead, Vitas required her to compete for the position with other applicants.  She applied and competed for the vacancy, but was not selected by Vitas.  

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

Soon after EEOC filed its lawsuit, Vitas agreed to amend its policy to include reassignment to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation.  Further, Vitas agreed to provide training to its managers and human resources personnel, and to voluntarily provide information to EEOC concerning its handling of disability discrimination complaints for two years.

“Vitas should be commended for its cooperation with the EEOC in reaching this important settlement,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney of the Miami District Office. “The policy changes implemented by Vitas demonstrate the company’s commitment to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees with disabilities.” 

Malcolm Medley, director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office, added, “Under the law, it is incumbent upon employers to accommodate an employee’s request for an accommodation when it would not impose an undue hardship.  We’re glad Vitas worked with us to reach this settlement; it provides employees with disabilities an opportunity to be productive members of the work force, and presents a win-win situation for everyone.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.