Federal Agency Says Hospital Could Have Accommodated Employee Instead of Firing Her
CHICAGO - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed this week that St. Alexius Medical Center (SAMC) in Hoffman Estates, Ill., violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to accommodate a hospital greeter with a cognitive disability.
John P. Rowe, the EEOC's district director in Chicago, said the agency found reasonable cause to believe that SAMC was aware of the employee's disability and that the employee requested an accommodation, but the company would not even consider the possibility of accommodating her.
"When an employee requests an accommodation, the ADA requires employers to engage in an interactive process with the employee to identify possible accommodations," said Rowe. "Here, our pre-suit administrative investigation indicated that SAMC apparently refused to consider whether it could provide any reasonable accommodations to the disabled employee, including providing written job instructions."
The EEOC filed suit under the ADA after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with SAMC through its conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. St. Alexius Medical Center., N.D. Ill. No. 1:12-cv-07646, was filed September 25, 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Supevisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour and Trial Attorney Laurie Elkin will litigate the case on behalf of the EEOC.
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.