An assisted living company, Prestige Care, Inc., and its subsidiaries recently agreed to settle a lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity commission for $2 million. In the suit, the EEOC alleged the company and its subsidiaries violated disability antidiscrimination laws by refusing to allow employees to work unless they were completely healed, and firing employees instead of allowing them to take the time off they needed to recover.
The settlement money will provide the affected workers who faced discrimination with back pay and other damages.
Several workers claimed the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing workers when they asked to be accommodated for injuries, and that the company denied requests for time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.
One worker was Amanda Morales, who worked as a personal care attendant and sustained an injury in a wheelchair accident that resulted in nerve damage. She asked for a position that would not have any lifting requirements, but management allegedly told her she “looked fine” and that there was an internal policy of no light duty. After she dropped a pan of bacon, causing injuries that sent her to the emergency room, the company denied requests for additional time off to heal, and ultimately fired her.
Another worker was Stephanie Chilton, a cook who alleged after she injured her knee, she requested multiple weeks off to heal, only to be told she’d exhausted her FMLA leave and would have to use personal leave instead. Personal leave results in no guarantee of employment. She was ultimately fired as well.
For more information about the steps you should take if you believe there is evidence of discrimination in your workplace, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.