The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-24-09

LITTLE ROCK RETIREMENT COMMUNITY SUED BY EEOC FOR DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Presbyterian Village Took Away Accommodation, Retaliated Against Dietary Aide With Physical and Developmental Impairments, Agency Claim

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Presbyterian Village Inc., a retirement community in Little Rock, Ark., violated federal law when it refused to accommodate and then reduced the hours of a dietary aide because of his disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 4:09-CV-0766 BSM), the dietary aide had worked at Presbyterian Village from 2003 though 2007 without incident. The aide has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and partial paralysis stemming from a stroke suffered in infancy which causes him to walk with a limp and limits the use of his left arm and hand. He also has some cognitive impairments. He had successfully performed the duties of dietary aide with minor accommodations granted by his supervisor and had received “satisfactory” performance evaluations.

After the hire of a new dietary services manager in 2008, Presbyterian Village refused to continue to accommodate the aide and gave him tasks that were outside his physical capabilities. When he complained about his treatment, his hours were reduced. The reduction in hours caused the aide to lose his health insurance. Thereafter, his mother complained of the discriminatory treatment, and his hours were further reduced.

Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which also prohibits retaliation against individuals who complain of discriminatory treatment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits for the aide, and an injunction against future discrimination.

“In July 2009, we celebrated the 19th anniversary of the enactment of the ADA. This statute mandates that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to achieve in the workplace. Presbyterian Village provided reasonable accommodations for many years and then, inexplicably, decided to cease accommodating our complainant,” said Katharine Kores, Director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Arkansas. “As if the discrimination here were not serious enough, our complainant was later retaliated against twice causing him to lose his health insurance.”

Presbyterian Village is a retirement community offering housing and services for independent living, residential care, and skilled nursing in Little Rock.

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


This page was last modified on September 24, 2009.

Home Return to Home Page