Hospice Company to Amend Its Policy on Reasonable Accommodations
One type of workplace support that is considered “reasonable” under the ADA is reassignment to a vacant position if the employee with a disability is qualified (has the necessary qualifications, licenses and experience) to do the essential job functions of that job. Employers don’t have to create a position, but, if one exists, then it should be considered.
When Vitas Health Care Corporation of Florida, a Miami hospice care provider, failed to do so, they found themselves faced with an EEOC lawsuit and lost. EEOC determined that Vitas violated disability discrimination law by failing to reassign a Registered Nurse to a vacant position for which she was qualified after she became unable to perform the responsibilities of her current position due to her disability (high blood pressure).
Instead, Vitas required her to compete for the position with other applicants. She applied and competed for the vacancy, but was not selected by Vitas. This act of discrimination will cost the company $65,000, a revamping of their policy, and a requirement to report to the EEOC for 2 years.
Under the law, it is incumbent upon employers to accommodate an employee’s request for an accommodation when it would not impose an undue hardship.
Does your policy include reassignment to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation? Does your company provide training to its managers and human resources personnel? Don’t let foolish decisions result in unnecessary and costly mistakes. Now is the time to review all policies and ensure they don’t unintentionally discriminate against applicants and employees with disabilities. If you’re not sure what constitutes discrimination, contact Springboard.
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.