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PRESS RELEASE
8-12-11

The Children's Hospital Association Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination

Hospital Refuses to Hire Applicant Due to Fibromyalgia, Federal Agency Charges

DENVER – The Children’s Hospital in Colorado intentionally and unlawfully discriminated  against an applicant for hire due to her disability, fibromyalgia, the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it  filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Cecilia McMurray applied  for a staff assistant position with the Colorado Children’s Healthcare Access  Program in Pediatric Medicine. After  three interviews, McMurray was offered the position of staff assistant II, contingent  upon the successful completion of a pre-employment health screen. Following a medical exam by Dr. Henry J. Roth arranged by The Children’s Hospital, a human  resources consultant with The Children’s Hospital called McMurray and told her  that the offer was being withdrawn due to her fibromyalgia. According to Dr. Roth, the only job function  of the staff assistant II position that McMurray could not perform was “long  periods of sitting and computer/telephone work” because she was restricted to  no more than 45 minutes in a static posture. The EEOC contends that The Children’s Hospital  could have accommodated this restriction and was required to do so under the  Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

  The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Children’s Hospital., Case No. 11-cv-02104-REB-CBS)  in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary damages, including  back pay, compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks injunctive relief  prohibiting further discrimination by the employer and mandating corrective action,  including hiring McMurray to the staff assistant position.

“This employer could easily have accommodated  Ms. McMurray’s disability without disadvantaging anyone,” said EEOC Regional  Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “The ADA prohibits an employer  from using the results of a pre-employment medical exam to deny employment to a  qualified individual with a disability. A  hospital should especially have understood that. The EEOC will protect the rights of job  applicants who are denied employment for discriminatory reasons.”

EEOC Denver Field Office Director Nancy Sienko added, "The  unemployment rate for persons with a disability was 14.8 percent in 2010, well  above the figure of 9.4 percent for those with no disability.This  nation has committed to making accommodations in the workplaceso  individuals with disabilities can work and contribute to society."

Further  information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.