By WK Editorial Staff
One of the EEOC’s national priorities is eliminating qualification standards and inflexible leave policies that discriminate against people with disabilities.
Prestige Care, Inc., Prestige Senior Living, LLC, and their affiliates will pay $2 million and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination suit filed by the EEOC, the federal agency announced February 20. The EEOC had charged that the companies failed to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities.
Inflexible leave, 100% healed policies. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the Vancouver, Washington-based companies and their affiliated nursing and assisted living facilities had policies requiring employees to perform 100 percent of job duties without restriction, accommodation, or engaging in the interactive process. The EEOC further charged that Prestige and its affiliates discharged employees with disabilities pursuant to inflexible leave policies.
Injunctive relief. In addition to monetary relief, the five-year consent decree settling the suit includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing future disability discrimination. Prestige agreed to retain an external equal employment opportunity monitor to review and revise its policies and procedures regarding ADA compliance and to ensure that Prestige engages in the interactive process and provides reasonable accommodations. The companies also agreed to provide training and to designate coordinators to handle disability accommodation requests and disability discrimination complaints. Eligible claimants will be notified of their right to request a reasonable accommodation when applying to work for Prestige.
Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, noted that “One of the EEOC’s national priorities is eliminating qualification standards and inflexible leave policies that discriminate against people with disabilities. This resolution should send a strong message to employers that the EEOC is dedicated to its mission.”
Claims process. Anyone who worked for Prestige Care, Inc., Prestige Senior Living, LLC, or their affiliates between 2011 and 2018 who believes he or she may have been terminated or excluded from employment with Prestige due to a mental or physical impairment should contact the EEOC at (877) 461-7818. Such people may be entitled to monetary relief from this settlement. The Prestige locations covered by this settlement include facilities in California, Oregon, and Washington.
The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. Prestige Care, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-01299-AWI-SAB) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
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