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PRESS RELEASE
9-30-15

EEOC Sues Physicians’ Specialty Hospital for Disability Discrimination

Hospital Refused to Accommodate Nurse With Seizure Disorder, Federal Agency Charges

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A physician-owned hospital in Fayetteville, Ark., violated federal law by failing to accommodate a nurse with a seizure disorder, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to EEOC's suit, Physicians' Specialty Hospital hired the woman as a PRN nurse in July 2014. After suffering a seizure and being removed from direct patient care by her doctor, the employee requested, as a reasonable accommodation, a transfer to an open position that did not involve direct patient care. In the alternative, the nurse requested a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation. Rather than consider the nurse's accommodation requests, the hospital fired her.

Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, Civil Action No. 5:15-cv-05237-TLB, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief prohibiting Physicians' from discriminating against employees with disabilities in the future.

"In July 2015, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the ADA, which mandates that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to achieve success in the workplace," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "Employers in the business of health care must consider a reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee."

According to its information, Physicians' Specialty Hospital is the official health care provider of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.