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PRESS RELEASE
9-28-12

EEOC Sues Osceola Community Hospital for Disability Discrimination

Hospital's  Day Care Center Refused to Hire Experienced Child Care Worker Because of Her  Cerebral Palsy, Federal Agency Says

MILWAUKEE - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) filed a disability discrimination lawsuit this week against Osceola  Community Hospital in Sibley, Iowa.  The  agency alleged that Bright Beginnings of Osceola County, a day care center  operated by the hospital, unlawfully failed to hire a woman because of her cerebral  palsy.

An administrative  investigation which preceded the lawsuit, found reasonable cause to believe  that the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing  to hire Jodene Kruse Schreiber, who has cerebral palsy, for a position as a  child care worker.  Schreiber has years  of child care experience and was passed over in favor of less-qualified  applicants. 

The EEOC filed suit  after first trying to reach a voluntary agreement to resolve the matter through  its statutory conciliation process.  The  agency seeks lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages for Schreiber in  addition to an order barring future discrimination and other relief.  The suit, captioned EEOC v. Osceola Community Hospital d/b/a Bright Beginnings of Osceola  County, Civil Action No. 5:12-cv-4087, was filed on Sept. 26 in U.S.  District Court for the District of Iowa in Sioux City and assigned to Judge Donald  E. O'Brien.

"The EEOC is responsible for  enforcing the national mandate, memorialized in the Americans with Disabilities  Act, that Americans with disabilities deserve equal job opportunities," said John  P. Rowe, director for the EEOC Chicago District, who oversaw the agency's  administrative investigation.  "Applicants  for jobs should be evaluated on their skills, their experience, and their  ability to perform the essential functions of the job with or without a  reasonable accommodation.  That's it.  Employers have no business making hiring decisions on the basis of an actual or  perceived disability."

EEOC Chicago District Regional  Attorney John Hendrickson added, "The ADA was passed to combat decisions based  on biases and misconceptions regarding individuals with disabilities.  Our task is to make sure that Ms. Schrieber  and others like her get a fair shake in the job market and are not prejudiced  by stereotypes and misconceptions that too many still hold about applicants  with disabilities."

The EEOC Chicago District  Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative  enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin,  Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and  Minneapolis.

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