Employee With MS Denied Accommodation and Fired, Federal Agency Charges
CLEVELAND - Lifecare Medical Services, Inc., an Ohio medical transportation services company, violated federal law by denying a reasonable accommodation to and subsequently firing an employee because of his multiple sclerosis, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, John Adair worked at the company since 2009 as an EMT-paramedic. The EEOC said that from March to October 2010, Adair requested additional leave as a reasonable accommodation for his MS, but instead was issued disciplinary actions for absences related to his disability. In October 2010, Adair requested, as a reasonable accommodation, additional points under the company's no-fault attendance policy. Lifecare Medical Services responded to the request for accommodation by firing Adair on Oct. 13, 2010.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Case: 5:13-cv-01447) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages and lost wages and benefits.
"Firing someone because of his disability is against the law," said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and portions of New Jersey and Ohio. "Under the ADA, once an employer learns of an employee's disability and the need for reasonable accommodation, the employer must engage in an interactive dialogue to explore reasonable accommodation. Sadly, that was not done in this case."
According to the company's website, Lifecare Medical Services, Inc. is a professional provider of basic and advanced medical transportation services, providing services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to customers in northeast, central, and southwest Ohio.
Addressing emerging and developing issues under the ADA (including issues such as reasonable accommodation), is one of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC in its Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.