Company Fired Employee Because of Her Anxiety Disorder, Federal Agency Charges
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee-based West Meade Place LLP, doing business as The HealthCare Center at West Meade Place, violated federal law by refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who suffers from an anxiety disorder, and then firing her because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced on February 1, 2018.
According to the EEOC's suit, West Meade hired the employee as a laundry technician in February 2015. When the employee requested leave as a reasonable accommodation for her anxiety disorder in November 2015, management told her she could not take leave, as the Family and Medical Leave Act did not apply to her.
West Meade then required the employee to obtain and return to management a note from her doctor, clearing her to return to work without any restrictions, less than 36 hours after the employee requested a reasonable accommodation for her disability. When the employee could not quickly obtain a doctor's note, West Meade discharged her, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. West Meade Place LLP d/b/a The HealthCare Center at West Meade Place, Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-00101) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief prohibiting West Meade from discriminating against employees based on their disabilities in the future, as well as back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the discrimination victim.
"Management officials have a responsibility under federal law to consider all reasonable requests to accommodate employees' disabilities," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "When an employer refuses to do so, the EEOC is here to put things right."
West Meade operates a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center at 1000 St. Luke Drive in Nashville. According to company information, the company employs more than 200 individuals.
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