Brookdale to pay $112.5K to settle discrimination lawsuit

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Brookdale Senior Living will pay $112,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency has announced

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Brookdale violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in that:

  • Brookdale discriminated against Bernadine Adams, health and wellness director at Brookdale Mountain View in Denver, because she had fibromyalgia.
  • After Adams took leave from work due to symptoms the disorder, Brookdale refused her request for a temporary modified work schedule, an ergonomic chair and adjustments to the lighting in her office.
  • Brookdale required Adams to remain on leave until she was able to return to work without any restrictions or accommodations.
  • After Adams requested additional accommodation and charged discrimination, Brookdale fired her by letter, stating she "failed to engage in the interactive process within reasonable terms."

In addition to paying Adams to resolve the case, Brookdale must train all Mountain View community employees and district managers on the ADA's requirements. 

"As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA, employers need to know that snap judgments and refusals to consider reasonable accommodations can lead to violations of the law," EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill said in a statement.

The company also must report any additional complaints of disability discrimination or retaliation to the federal agency. EEOC Denver Field Office Director John C. Lowrie commended Brookdale for agreeing to take steps to ensure that its employees and managers understand what is required by federal law.

Brookdale's Mountain View community offers independent and assisted living as well as a continuing care retirement community and skilled nursing.

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