Social Services Agency Fired Employee Because She Complained About Disclosure of Confidential Medical Information, Federal Agency Alleged
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, a social service agency in New York, agreed to pay a former employee $60,000 and furnish other relief to resolve a retaliation suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's complaint, when the employee tried to get confidential information about her disability removed from a duty log that other employees at the facility had access to, the company failed to remove it. After she filed a charge with the EEOC alleging that this dissemination of her confidential medical information was a violation of the Americans with Disability Act ("ADA"), she was fired.
The ADA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees because they oppose acts that are illegal under the ADA or because they file charges at the EEOC alleging violations of the ADA. The ADA also requires that, when employers make medical inquiries regarding employees' disabilities, they keep that information confidential. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (EEOC v. Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, Civil Action No. 18-cv-7376 (S.D.N.Y.) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"The EEOC appreciates this organization's willingness to resolve this case without protracted litigation," said Jeffrey Burstein, the EEOC's regional attorney for the New York District Office. "The EEOC remains committed to protecting employees when they bring ADA violations to the attention of their employers or the EEOC."
Under the consent decree entered by the court, the company will pay the employee $60,000 to compensate for her lost wages and emotional distress. The decree also prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability or retaliation. And under the decree, Jewish Board must train all of its managers and human resource professionals on their responsibilities under the ADA, including their obligation to avoid retaliation against employees who complain about potential violations of the law.
"The law is clear, employers cannot fire their employees because they have filed a charge with the EEOC. And if they do, the EEOC will not let them get away with it," added EEOC's New York District Director Kevin Berry."
The New York District Office of the EEOC is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
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.