Thursday, August 20, 2015

Seize the opportunity to offer accommodations for medical treatments

A Mississippi home healthcare provider has agreed to a $100,000 settlement with the EEOC for a disability-discrimination lawsuit. The EEOC’s press release offers the key facts of the case:

EEOC brought suit on behalf of Kristy Sones, a former Mississippi HomeCare employee, who suffered an epileptic seizure while working at the facility. Returning to work following her seizure, Sones requested an accommodation to help her perform certain job-related computer tasks--tasks she was having difficulty completing because of the temporary side effects of her seizure medication.  The lawsuit alleges that Mississippi HomeCare ignored Sones’ request, failed to engage in an interactive process to discuss reasonable accommodations, and provided no accommodation. Mississippi HomeCare then terminated Sones less than a month after her request for an accommodation.

According to EEOC Birmingham District Director, “We hope this resolution will be a lesson to companies of the importance of engaging in an individualized interactive process to determine whether a disabled employee must be accommodated under the ADA.” This duty to consider reasonable accommodations does not just include an employee’s medical condition, but also any medications an employee is taking to treat that medical condition. Omitting this consideration can have expensive consequences, as this case illustrates.