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PRESS RELEASE
9-10-14

Sunbridge Regency-North Carolina Pays $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Mount Olive Nursing Home Unlawfully Fired Disabled Employee, Agency Charged

RALEIGH, NC - SunBridge Regency-North Carolina, Inc., a North Carolina corporation that operates a nursing home in Mount Olive, N.C., will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, SunBridge hired Margaret Washington to work as a cook and dietary aide at its Mount Olive facility in June 2013. Washington has a physical impairment that limits her use of the left side of her body. Shortly after Washington began working for SunBridge, her supervisor asked her what was wrong with her left arm. Washington explained that she did not have the full use of her left arm, but that she was still able to perform her job duties. The EEOC said that a few weeks later, Washington's supervisor informed her that she did not believe she could perform her job duties without the full use of both arms. Shortly thereafter, SunBridge Inc. fired Washington for that reason.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations. The EEOC filed suit in July 2014 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Civil Action No. 5:14-CV-00391) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"We are pleased that in resolving this case, SunBridge Regency is taking action to ensure that it fulfills its obligations under federal law," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office, which includes the EEOC's Raleigh Area Office, where the charge was filed. "Under the ADA, employees like Margaret Washington have the right to be evaluated based on their ability to do their job rather than any physical limitations they may have."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.