The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-16-09

EEOC SUES GREATER BALTIMORE MEDICAL CENTER FOR DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Agency Charges That Community Hospital Denied Accommodations and Fired Clerk for Genetic Disorder and Stroke-Related Impairments

BALTIMORE – A Towson, Md., regional community hospital violated federal law when it fired a clerk because he had neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder, and stroke-related impairments, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

In its suit, the EEOC said that since at least May 2006 and continuing to the present, the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) denied Michael E. Turner any reasonable accommodation, such as a possible reassignment, then fired him and refused to rehire him in any capacity because of his disabilities. Turner had been successfully employed as a part-time unit secretary since October 17, 1984, and became full-time on December 23, 1990. Although he was physically capable and willing to perform his duties, the EEOC said, GBMC declared him incapable of working, with or without an accommodation, and fired him.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual because of a disability. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action RDB-09-2418) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern District, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The complaint seeks monetary and injunctive relief, including back wages, the reinstatement of Turner, compensatory and punitive damages, and changes in employment policies to provide equal employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities.

“Employers must make employment decisions based on the individual’s ability to perform the job,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “Society’s myths and fears about disabilities are often more limiting than any physical limitations that may or may not flow from a physical impairment.”

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Maria Salacuse added, “The ADA is about breaking down barriers to employment for people with disabilities and allowing them to compete in the workplace on a fair and level playing field.”

According to its web site (www.gbmc.org) GBMC includes Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), Greater Baltimore Medical Associates (GBMA), Gilchrist Hospice Care, and the GBMC Foundation.

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


This page was last modified on September 16, 2009.

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