ATLANTA – Gentiva Health Services, doing business as Kindred at Home, a provider of home health services including nursing and rehabilitation assistance, will pay $160,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC’s suit charged that Kindred learned that one of its employees suffered from Morton’s neuroma and capsulitis of the metatarsophalangeal joints of both feet. The employee initially asked to telecommute for three weeks as an accommodation for her disability and in accordance with her doctor’s recommendation to stay off her feet. Kindred originally allowed her to telework for a week but then reversed its decision and unilaterally placed her on unpaid leave without benefits for four months, despite the fact she could perform the essential functions of her job, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Gentiva Health Services, Inc. d/b/a Kindred at Home, Civil Action No. 1:20-CV-3936-MHC-AJB) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Under the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit, Kindred will pay $160,000 in monetary damages to the employee. Kindred also agreed to regular reporting, monitoring, annual training, distribution of ADA policies, and notice posting.
“We appreciate Kindred’s willingness to implement the safeguards outlined in the consent decree,” said Marcus Keegan, regional attorney for the EEOC's Atlanta District Office. An employer should accommodate an employee who can perform the essential functions of the position with a limited period of telework if it does not pose an undue hardship.”
Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “The EEOC is committed to seeking relief for workers who are harmed by employers who fail to engage in the interactive process and who discriminate against employees who have the ability to perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.”
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.