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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
7-10-14

EEOC Sues Genesis Healthcare / Mount Olive Care & Rehabilitation Center for Disability Discrimination

Mount Olive Nursing Home Unlawfully Fired Employee Because of Arm Impairment, Federal Agency Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. - Genesis Healthcare, LLC, d/b/a Mount Olive Care & Rehabilitation Center, a Delaware limited liability company that operates a nursing home in Mount Olive, N.C., violated federal law by firing an employee because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's complaint, Genesis Healthcare hired Margaret Washington to work as a cook and dietary aide at its Mount Olive facility in June of 2013. Washington has a physical impairment that limits her use of the left side of her body. Shortly after Washington began working for Genesis Healthcare, her supervisor asked her what was wrong with her left arm. Washington explained that she did not have the full use of her left arm, but that she was still able to perform her job duties. A few weeks later, Washington's supervisor informed Washington that she did not believe Washington could perform her job duties without the full use of both arms. Shortly thereafter, Genesis Healthcare fired Washington because she did not have the full use of her left arm.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to provide disabled applicants and employees with reasonable accommodations. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Genesis Healthcare, LLC d/b/a Mount Olive Care & Rehabilitation Center, Civil Action No. 5:14-cv-00391) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

"An employer cannot terminate an employee based solely on uninformed assumptions about her ability to work simply because of a disability," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office, which includes the EEOC's Raleigh Area Office, where the charge was filed. "The EEOC will continue to fight for the rights of people like Margaret Washington."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.