Press Release 03-31-2020

EEOC Sues Nursing Home Operator for Disability Discrimination

Heart of CarDon Refused to Accommodate Qualified Employee With a Disability, Federal Agency Charges

INDIANAPOLIS - Bloomington, Ind.-based senior living community operator Heart of CarDon, LLC violated federal law by refusing to accommodate a qualified employee with a disability, resulting in her losing her job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Heart of CarDon determined that an employee at its Rawlins House facility, in Pendleton, Ind., could no longer perform the essential functions of her certified nursing assistant job after a work injury resulted in lifting restrictions. The employee expressed interest in several jobs she could have performed without violating her lifting restric­tions, but Heart of CarDon refused to transfer her to a vacant position for which she was qualified, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from failing to consider reasonable accommodations for employees with a disability. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 1:20-cv-00998-JRS-MJD) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The agency is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages against Heart of CarDon as well as a permanent injunction to prevent the company from engaging in future disability discrimination in the accommodation process.

 "The EEOC is committed to enforcing the ADA and removing barriers for employment from qualified employees with disabilities," said Michelle Eisele, district director for the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office.

Kenneth L. Bird, the Indianapolis District Office's regional attorney, said, "The ADA requires employers to engage in an interactive process with qualified individuals with disabil­ities. Blanket rejections of requests for reasonable accommodation are unlawful and will not be tolerated."

The Indianapolis District Office of the EEOC oversees Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and parts of Ohio.

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.