Nursing Home Offered Deaf Applicant a Job but Reneged, Federal Agency Charges
NEW YORK - Genesis HealthCare, LLC, the owner of Holly Manor Center nursing facility in Mendham, N.J., violated federal anti-discrimination law when it refused to hire an applicant for its food service department because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Genesis HealthCare and 84 Cold Hill Road Operations, both doing business as Holly Manor Center, refused to hire Stefan P. Denisiuk after initially offering him two part-time positions. Denisiuk, who is deaf, was offered the positions after an interview with managers at Holly Manor Center. Those managers told Denisiuk that he was hired, but he was later called in for another interview with different managers. During that interview, Denisiuk was grilled about his ability to communicate, the EEOC said. After the interview concluded, the interviewers told Denisiuk that they would contact him with his work schedule. However, the EEOC said, they later told Denisiuk that they "decided to pursue more experienced candidates" despite their previous job offer.
This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Civil Action No.: 2:14-cv-00316-JLL-MAH) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting the defendants from discriminating against disabled individuals in hiring, as well as lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages and other affirmative relief for Denisiuk.
"Qualified individuals with disabilities deserve a fair opportunity to be considered for employment," said District Director Kevin Berry of the EEOC's New York District Office. "The EEOC will take vigorous action to remedy discrimination against disabled applicants and employees."
Robert D. Rose, acting regional attorney for the EEOC's New York District Office, added, "An employer cannot refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of a disability. Here, Mr. Denisiuk was qualified, experienced and ready to work, only to have Holly Manor pull back its job offer because of his disability. This violates federal law."
According to the website for Genesis HealthCare, www.genesishcc.com, the company owns and operates more than 400 skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities across the nation. 84 Cold Hill Road is a Pennsylvania company that is licensed by the state of New Jersey to operate Holly Manor Center.
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC's New York District Office has jurisdiction over Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Northern New Jersey.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.