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Press Release 09-21-2017

EEOC Sues Rivers Casino for Firing Employee Who Needed Time Off for Cancer Treatment

Casino Violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by Refusing Time Off for Cancer Surgery, Federal Agency Charges 

CHICAGO - Rivers Casino in Des Plaines violated federal law prohibiting disability discrim­ination by denying an employee's request for additional leave to get cancer treatment and then firing him, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago, the EEOC's pre-suit investigation revealed that Rivers Casinos wrongfully denied Donnan Lake's request for a reason­able accommodation of a few additional weeks of leave to have surgery related to his cancer. Lake suffers from sarcoma and has required chemotherapy and surgery to treat his cancer.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified employees with disa­bilities, include providing medical leave if does not present an undue burden to the employer.

The EEOC filed yesterday's suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case (EEOC v. Midwest Gaming LLC, dba Rivers Casino, Civil Action No. 17-cv-6811 was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division and assigned to Judge Rubin Castillo.

"Employers need to be reminded that a limited request for medical leave can be a reasonable accommodation and employers risk violating the law if they summarily deny such requests," said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC's Chicago District Office.  "Mr. Lake was a good employee who just needed a little more time to fight his cancer. It is unfortunate that Rivers ignored its obligations under the ADA and fired him while he was trying to fight his cancer."

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, 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 advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.