Companies' Inflexible 100% Healed Policies Violated the ADA, Federal Agency Charged
FRESNO, Calif. - Prestige Care, Inc., Prestige Senior Living, LLC, and their affiliates will pay $2 million and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the companies failed to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the Vancouver, Wash.-based companies and their affiliated nursing and assisted living facilities had policies requiring employees to perform 100% of job duties without restriction, accommodation, or engaging in the interactive process. The EEOC further charged that Prestige and its affiliates discharged employees with disabilities pursuant to inflexible leave policies.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. Prestige Care, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-01299-AWI-SAB) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the five-year consent decree settling the suit includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing future disability discrimination. Prestige agreed to retain an external equal employment opportunity monitor to review and revise its policies and procedures regarding ADA compliance and to ensure that Prestige engages in the interactive process and provides reasonable accommodations. The companies also agreed to provide training and to designate coordinators to handle disability accommodation requests and disability discrimination complaints. Eligible claimants will be notified of their right to request a reasonable accommodation when applying to work for Prestige.
"We commend Prestige for its commitment to the ADA and for agreeing to comprehensive injunctive remedies," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office, which includes the San Joaquin Valley in its jurisdiction. "We encourage all employers in the nursing and assisted living industry to follow suit and review their disability accommodation policies and practices to ensure they are in compliance with federal law."
Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC's Fresno Local Office, added, "One of the EEOC's national priorities is eliminating qualification standards and inflexible leave policies that discriminate against people with disabilities. This resolution should send a strong message to employers that the EEOC is dedicated to its mission."
Anyone who worked for Prestige Care, Inc., Prestige Senior Living, LLC, or their affiliates between 2011 and 2018 who believes he or she may have been terminated or excluded from employment with Prestige due to a mental or physical impairment should contact the EEOC at (877) 461-7818. Such people may be entitled to monetary relief from this settlement. The Prestige locations covered by this settlement include facilities in California, Oregon, and Washington.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.