EEOC Consent Decree Requires Employer to Revise Management Performance Criteria

  27 July 2016

A Minneapolis-area home health care provider, Baywood Home Care, will pay $30,000 under a consent decree to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC charged that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide Laurie Goodnough, who worked as a home health aide, with a reasonable accommodation, and instead fired her. Ms. Goodnough has fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis that substantially limits her walking and bending. The EEOC alleged that two supervisors observed Goodnough walking with a cane, contacted the company’s owner and complained about it. The company then allegedly terminated Goodnough because of her disability, without engaging in the interactive process to consider possible accommodations. The consent decree provides for $30,000 to Goodnough and requires Baywood Home Care to train its personnel involved in hiring on the ADA. The decree also requires Baywood Home Care to revise its performance evaluation criteria to hold managers and supervisors accountable for failing to report, take appropriate action, or engage in the interactive process with respect to disability discrimination complaints or requests for accommodation.

The outcome of this case demonstrates how important it is for employers to conduct ongoing training for all personnel associated with managing disability in the workplace, particularly on employer responsibilities related to the interactive process, reasonable accommodation and the avoidance of disability discrimination claims. Read more here.