Medical Center-Managing Companies Fired Market Sales Manager Following Cancer Diagnosis, Federal Agency Charged
NORFOLK, Va. - ChenMed, LLC and PMR Virginia Holding, LLC, Delaware corporations operating medical centers for seniors, will pay $200,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Trudy Jelderks was hired in August 2013 as a market sales manager (MSM) for the Tidewater, VA market. In June 2014, Jelderks was also assigned to cover the Richmond, VA market. Approximately two months later, Jelderks informed her employers she had colon cancer. Shortly after disclosing her diagnosis, she was removed from the Richmond market. Jelderks was then hospitalized due to her colon cancer that October. During her hospitalization, Jelderks was pressured by the chief medical officer (CMO) to voluntarily give up her MSM duties, which she refused to do. Jelderks complained to the human resource office about the CMO's request during her hospitalization. Approximately one month later, the companies fired Jelderks because of her disability and in retaliation for her complaints about the CMO's discriminatory conduct.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on an individual's disability. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division (EEOC v. ChenMed, LLC and PMR Virginia Holding, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-00516) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
In addition to providing monetary relief for Jelderks, the companies entered into a two-year consent decree requiring them to re-distribute their formal, written anti-discrimination policy. The decree further requires the companies conduct anti-harassment training for their officers, managers, supervisors and employees, post certain documents, and provide periodic reports to the EEOC.
"Employees who have cancer or have cancer in remission, are covered by the ADA's prohibition on disability discrimination," said Kara Haden, supervisory trial attorney with the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "This case highlights the ADA offers protection to employees during all stages of a disability and to those employees who complain about disability discrimination."
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.