Thursday, November 11, 2010

EEOC Files Disability Discrimination Case against Mental Health Center

Disabled people have the right to work and earn money, just like normal people. They should be provided with equal employment opportunities if their condition does not prohibit them from doing their job duties.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, covered employers, local and state governments, labor unions, and employment agencies cannot discriminate against qualified disabled applicants or employees. This means employers cannot make employment decisions which are based on a person’s medical condition.

ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee, as long as it will not create undue hardships on the company.

A mental health center is in a middle of controversy after it allegedly failed to provide reasonable accommodation to a worker who is asking to take a leave of absence in order to acquire medical treatment for breast cancer.

According to reports, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed a disability discrimination case against Northern Indiana-based Tri-City Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center in the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division.

The lawsuit claimed that Felicia Nichols, a former employee at a Tri-City facility in Hammond, asked if she could take a leave of absence because she needed to acquire breast cancer treatment.

However, the company fired her after she failed to go to work.

The agency further alleged that the intentional actions of Tri-City violated the woman’s “protected rights.” It is now seeking both punitive and compensatory damages as well as back pay from Tri-City. In addition, it is also seeking other relief like permanent injunction so that the company will not be able to discriminate against qualified disabled individuals in the future.