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St. Alexius Medical Center’s Failure to Accommodate Employee with Cognitive Disability Draws EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Federal  Agency Says Hospital Could Have Accommodated Employee Instead of Firing Her

CHICAGO - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  charged in a lawsuit filed this week that St. Alexius Medical Center (SAMC) in  Hoffman Estates, Ill., violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by  failing to accommodate a hospital greeter with a cognitive disability.

John P. Rowe, the EEOC's district director in Chicago, said  the agency found reasonable cause to believe that SAMC was aware of the employee's  disability and that the employee requested an accommodation, but the company would  not even consider the possibility of accommodating her. 

"When an employee requests an accommodation, the ADA  requires employers to engage in an interactive process with the employee to  identify possible accommodations," said Rowe.   "Here, our pre-suit administrative investigation indicated that SAMC  apparently refused to consider whether it could provide any reasonable  accommodations to the disabled employee, including providing written job  instructions."

The EEOC filed suit under the ADA after first attempting to  reach a voluntary settlement with SAMC through its conciliation process.  The case, EEOC  v. St. Alexius Medical Center., N.D. Ill. No. 1:12-cv-07646, was filed September  25, 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern  Division. Supevisory Trial Attorney Gregory Gochanour and Trial Attorney Laurie  Elkin will litigate the case on behalf of the EEOC.

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for  processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct  of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and  South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against  employment discrimination.  Further  information is available at