Disabled Employee Barred from Returning to Work after Medical Leave, Federal Agency Charges
DETROIT – Kaufman Children’s Center violated federal law when it terminated an employee with a disability returning to work from a medical leave absence, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the lawsuit, Kaufman Children’s Center refused to let the employee, an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapist, return to work in a light duty capacity or offer the employee another reasonable accommodation after she was off work due to a serious cardiac condition. When she sought to return to her previous position, Kaufman Children’s Center formally fired her because of her disability, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Kaufman Children’s Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-motor, & Social connections, Inc., Case No. 2:14-cv-14947) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first seeking to reach a voluntary settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The Commission seeks to recover monetary compensation for the fired employee, including back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.
“Employers violate the ADA when they ignore requests for a reasonable accommodation and terminate employees because they are disabled,” explained Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for the EEOC. “Kaufman Children’s Center had a duty to determine if it could accommodate this employee,” she added.
Kaufman Children’s Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-motor, & Social Connections, Inc. is a Michigan company that specializes in providing services to autistic children (www.kidspeech.com).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.