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EEOC Sues Grady Memorial Hospital for Disability Discrimination

May 24, 2022
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Atlanta Hospital Refused to Accommodate Employee’s Disability and then Fired Her, Federal Agency Charges

Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation, a public hospital in Atlanta, [Georgia,] violated federal law by failing to accommodate its employee’s disability and then firing her because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a recently filed lawsuit.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the employee requested approximately five weeks of leave from work due to a medical condition. The EEOC alleges that the employee attempted to return from leave as scheduled, however Grady refused to accept her doctor’s release, instead requiring her to obtain another release from her physician. Grady then discharged her, allegedly for violating a work rule, before she could return. The EEOC contends that this discharge was a pretext for disability discrimination.

Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and prohibits discharging an employee because of a disability. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:22-CV-2059 TCB JSA) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory, and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

Grady claims to have strictly applied a work rule instead of processing its employee’s request for leave as an accommodation under the ADA,” said Marcus G. Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Had Grady simply accommodated its employee as the law requires. she would not have been fired and this situation would not have arisen.”

Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “When an employee needs leave related to a medical condition, it often implicates the ADA. Grady was required to consider its obligations under the ADA when applying its work policies but failed to do so in this case. When this happens, the EEOC can step in to protect employees’ rights.”

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