Settlement Resolves Claims for People Who Were Denied Employment or Accommodations Because of Their Disabilities
March 8, 2017 - Magnolia Health Corporation, a Visalia, Calif.-based company that operates health care and assisted living facilities throughout California's Central Valley, will pay $325,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
EEOC filed suit against the company in September 2015, charging that since 2012, Magnolia had discriminated against a class of applicants and employees on the basis of their disability, having a record of a disability, or being perceived as having one. EEOC said that Magnolia denied employees accommodations for their disabilities, and refused to hire, or fired, applicants and employees who had disabilities or were regarded as such. EEOC also said that Magnolia rescinded employment offers when applicants' post-offer medical examinations indicated that they had a record of a disability or had current medical restrictions. EEOC further charged that Magnolia required employees be completely free of medical restrictions to work.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. Magnolia Health Corporation, et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-01222-DAD-EPG), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the monetary relief, Magnolia agreed to retain an ADA and equal employment opportunity consultant to revise the company's policies and procedures with respect to disability discrimination, provide discrimination training to the company's workforce with a focus on disability discrimination, and maintain a centralized system to track all accommodation requests and complaints. EEOC will monitor compliance with a two-year consent decree.
"The EEOC continues to see employers failing to properly engage in the interactive process or implementing policies that undermine the purpose of the ADA, particularly in the health care industry. We encourage employers to reexamine their leave and attendance policies to ensure compliance with the ADA," said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District.
Melissa Barrios, local director for EEOC's Fresno Local Office, added, "The robust measures agreed to in this decree will assist Magnolia Health in correcting its practices and prevent future discrimination. This resolution should send a clear message to employers that they must engage in the interactive process and attempt to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees; failing to do so violates federal law."
Eliminating barriers to recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against people with disabilities or racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers and women, is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
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.
SOURCE: Press Release EEOC March 8, 2017