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PRESS RELEASE
8-28-12

Mercy Hospice Sued By EEOC for Disability Bias

Nurse  Fired When She Tried to Return to Work After Medical Leave, Federal Agency  Charges

DETROIT - Mercy  Hospice, a member of the Trinity Home Health System, violated federal law by  refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a disabled nurse and then  firing her, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in  a lawsuit it filed today.

The  EEOC's lawsuit (EEOC v. Mercy Hospice,  Case No. 2:12CV13803), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of  Michigan, charged that Mercy Hospice in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., terminated  Patricia Barriger when she tried to return to work from a medical leave of  absence.  Instead of providing her with a  reasonable accommodation, the company discharged her because, according to the  company, she was an inactive employee who was not entitled to an accommodation.

Such  alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to  reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"The  ADA protects employees, even if they are on medical leave," explained EEOC  Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell.   "Employees like Ms. Barriger who are capable of working, with or without  a reasonable accommodation, should be allowed to continue despite their  disabilities." 

The agency seeks to recover  monetary compensation for the employee, including back pay and compensatory  damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to  reach a voluntary settlement.

A  member of Trinity Home Health Services, Mercy Hospice provides end-of-life  in-home services to patients suffering from terminal illnesses.

The EEOC is responsible for  enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is  available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.