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PRESS RELEASE
12-6-18

Family Healthcare Network Settles EEOC Disability and Pregnancy Discrimination Suit for $1.75 Million

Health  Care Network Failed to Accommodate and Fired Employees Because of Their Disabilities  and/or Pregnancies, Federal Agency Charged

FRESNO,  Calif. - Family HealthCare Network will pay $1.75  million and furnish other relief to settle a systemic disability and pregnancy  discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The Visalia, Calif.-based health  care company operates over 20 health care sites in Tulare, Kings and Fresno Counties.

According to the  EEOC's lawsuit, Family HealthCare used its rigid leave policies and practices to  deny reasonable accommodations to its disabled and/or pregnant employees,  refusing to accommodate them with additional leave and firing them when they  were unable to return to work at the end of their leave. In some instances,  Family HealthCare discharged individuals before they had even exhausted their  approved leave and failed to rehire them when they tried to return to work.

Such alleged  conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy  Discrimination Act (PDA), and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The EEOC  filed suit in U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California (EEOC  v. Family Healthcare Network,Case  No. 1:18-cv-00893-DAD-BAM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.

In  addition to the $1.75 million in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree  requires Family HealthCare to retain an EEO monitor to review and revise the  company's policies, as appropriate. The company will also implement effective  training regarding preventing discrimination and harassment based on disability  and/or sex-pregnancy for the owners, human resources and supervisory personnel  and staff. Additionally, Family HealthCare will develop a centralized tracking  system for employee requests for accommodations and discrimination complaints.  The company is also required to submit regular reports to the EEOC verifying  compliance with the decree.

 "We commend the efforts of Family HealthCare  Networks in resolving this case and providing substantial relief to those  affected by the company's policies and practices," said Anna Park, regional  attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Tulare, Kings and  Fresno Counties.

Melissa  Barrios, director of EEOC's Fresno Local Office, added, "The EEOC continues to  see cases in which employers have a rigid leave policy that discriminates  against individuals with disabilities or pregnant employees. We are encouraged by  Family HealthCare's desire to resolve this complaint and put in place policies  to ensure that all employees are treated equitably under the law."

According to its website, www.fhcn.org, Family HealthCare Network  operates community health centers and patient-centered medical homes throughout  Tulare, Kings, and Fresno Counties, Calif.

One of the six national  priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan  (SEP) is for the agency to address emerging and developing issues in equal  employment law, including qualification standards and inflexible leave policies  that discriminate against individuals with disabilities as well as  accommodating pregnancy-related issues under the ADA and the PDA.

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.