Naperville, IL-based Charter Senior Living is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly discharging an employee who has nerve damage. The employee, a caregiver, worked at Charter Senior Living of Oak Openings in Sylvania, OH.
According to the EEOC lawsuit, the company violated the Americans with Disability Act by removing the caregiver from the work schedule because she had nerve damage in her right hand. During a second physical examination ordered by the company, the medical examiner concluded that the employee met the physical standards of the examination but declined to pass the employee “unconditionally” due to the nerve damage, according to the federal agency.
Charter Senior Living fired the employee without evaluating how her nerve damage affected her ability to continue working, the lawsuit maintains.
A spokesperson for Charter Senior Living told McKnight’s Senior Living that employee safety and wellness is a top priority.
“We are committed to offering opportunities to all employees if they meet the physical and functional requirements of the specific job responsibilities,” the spokesperson said. “Charter would never want to put any employee or resident at risk when it is identified that an employee does not meet the functional requirements of the position.”
The spokesperson said the provider worked with the EEOC through its normal conciliation process in December, and to date has “never received any communication regarding a pending lawsuit.” The spokesperson said the company will continue to cooperate with the EEOC.
After the conciliation process failed, the EEOC filed the complaint March 31 in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio. The agency is seeking monetary relief for the employee and to prohibit the company from continuing such conduct in the future.
“Firing an employee based on stereotypes regarding a physical impairment violates the ADA,” EEOC trial attorney Nedra Campbell said, adding that the company “failed to conduct an individualized inquiry into whether this employee could continue to perform her job despite her nerve damage.”