Companies Terminated Employee For Her Opposition Of Their Practices, Federal Agency Charges
NORFOLK, VA - ChenMed, LLC and PMR of Virginia Holding, LLC are Delaware Corporations doing business in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk. ChenMed, LLC and PMR of Virginia Holding, LLC, violated federal law when they terminated one of their employees for her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's complaint, ChenMed, LLC and PRM of Virginia Holding, LLC Trudy Jelderks as a Market Sales Manager (MSM) on or about August 7, 2013 and was assigned the Tidewater, Virginia market. In June 2014 Jelderks was also assigned the Richmond, Virginia market. In June 2014 Jelderks submitted her resignation of employment. On July 3, 2014 the companies offered her a contract for the period of July 1, 2014 through February 1, 2015 which she accepted. Jelderks was the only MSM to have an employment contract. On August 21, 2014, Jelderks informed her employers that she had colon cancer. Shortly after that on August 29, 2014 they removed the Richmond, Virginia market from her area of responsibilities. In October 2014 Jelderks was hospitalized due to her disability for a period of five (5) days. While hospitalized ChenMed's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) called her on the phone to pressure her into voluntarily giving up her MSM duties, which she refused. In November 2014 the companies announced a change to the MSM structure. Jelderks complained to the Human Resource Office about the CMO's treatment of her while she was hospitalized. On December 3, 2014 Jelderks spoke with the CMO and Chief Administrative & Operations Officer (CAOO) on the phone. Jelderks informed the CMO that it was illegal to call her when she was hospitalized. On January 7, 2015 ChenMed, LLC and PRM of Virginia Holding, LLC terminated her employment.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with a disability unless doing so would be an undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division (EEOC v. ChenMed, LLC and PMR Virginia Holding, LLC, Civil Action No. _2:18-cv-00516-RBS-DEM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
"Businesses have an obligation to accommodate employees with a disability so that they can retain their employment," said Kara G. Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "Employers need to be careful as to not retaliate against their employees thinking they are unable to uphold to their responsibilities because of their disability."
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.