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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
8-7-13

EEOC Sues OhioHealth / Riverside Methodist Hospital for Disability Discrimination

Employee  Denied Accommodations, Unlawfully Fired, Federal Agency Charges

COLUMBUS, Ohio - OhioHealth Corporation, doing business as Riverside  Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, violated federal law by failing to  accommodate and then firing an employee with narcolepsy, a chronic central  nervous system disorder, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According  to the EEOC's suit, Laura Stone, who had worked for the hospital since 2006, was  diagnosed with narcolepsy in August 2009 and was later medically restricted to  working a day shift position. Stone provided notice of her disability and requested  a reasonable accommodation in the form of reassignment to one of several vacant  day shift positions for which she was qualified.  Rather than reassign Stone, the EEOC charged,  the hospital placed her on medical leave and subsequently fired her because of  her disability. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits  disability discrimination and requires an employer to provide a reasonable  accommodation, such as reassignment or modification of policies, to a disabled  employee, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the  company. 

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern  District of Ohio Eastern Division (Case No. 2:13-cv-00780) after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.  The agency seeks injunctive  relief in its lawsuit, and damages and lost wages and benefits for Stone.

"It  was flagrantly unfair as well as unlawful to ignore this employee's quite  reasonable accommodation request and fire her instead," said Regional Attorney  Debra Lawrence of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which oversees the  EEOC's enforcement efforts in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland  and portions of New Jersey and Ohio.  "Instead  of simply solving this situation, the hospital pursued a course which forced  the EEOC to take legal action to protect this woman's rights." 

According to its website, Riverside Methodist Hospital is  the largest member hospital of OhioHealth, a not-for-profit healthcare system based  in Columbus, Ohio.

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