Woman Terminated Because Physical Exam Disclosed Condition, Federal Agency Charges
DETROIT - The Pines of Clarkston, a Clarkston, Mich., operator of a chain of assisted living facilities violated federal law by firing a woman because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
The lawsuit alleges Jamie Holden was hired to be the administrator of the newly-opened assisted living facility. In August 2011, Holden was hired and went in for a physical exam where she disclosed that she had epilepsy. After learning of her epilepsy and consulting with his business partner, the company president fired her on her first day of work.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of such medical conditions. The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for Holden in the form of back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The Pines of Clarkston, Inc., Case No. 2:13cv14076 ) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Ms. Holden was qualified to be the administrator of the facility, but the management chose to fire her simply because it learned of her condition," said EEOC Indianapolis Regional Attorney Laurie Young. "The EEOC will vigorously pursue violations of the ADA when employers base their decisions on baseless myths, fears and stereotypes about persons with epilepsy."
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 issues
involving the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations, among other possible issues.
The Indianapolis District Office of the EEOC oversees Indiana, Michigan and parts of Kentucky and Ohio.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.