Health Care Company Fired Nurse After She Had a Heart Attack, Federal Agency Says
MEMPHIS - The Highlands of Memphis, LLC and other current or former owners, operators, and/or managers of a nursing home located at 3549 Norriswood Avenue in Memphis violated federal law when they fired an employee because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced on Sept. 28.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, in April 2014, the nursing home's nighttime weekend nurse supervisor suffered a heart attack. While in the hospital, the nurse contacted the nursing home officials to report the heart attack and to advise that she would not be in to work on the weekend. After she was released from the hospital, she went to the nursing home to speak with management officials about her need for an additional week off from work to recover from the heart attack. Instead of considering her request for an accommodation, the company fired her, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. FC Highlands, LLC, The Highlands of Memphis, LLC f/d/b/a Highlands of Memphis Health & Rehab, Aria Health Group, LLC, Skyline Management Group, LLC, and Skyline of Memphis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, currently d/b/a The Highlands of Memphis and Norriswood Care and Rehab Center, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-02675-JTF-tmp) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency's Memphis District Office investigated the charge of discrimination.
"It is disappointing that any employer, especially a healthcare company, would fire an employee rather than give her additional time off after she has suffered a heart attack," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "Businesses should avoid implementing inflexible policies or procedures that undermine disability discrimination law. The EEOC will continue to fight for employees such as this nurse."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.