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EEOC sues South Florida hospital for disability discrimination

A South Florida hospital system has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly discriminating against a physician. The Miami-based Baptist Health South Florida is accused of practicing disability discrimination by refusing to honor a reasonable scheduling request from a doctor who has a disability.

The woman was reportedly a new hire at a facility in Coral Gables. She has epilepsy, and due to this condition she could not work more than 8-hour days. She disclosed this information during the hiring process, but soon after she started working for the hospital her supervisor altered her schedule and forced her to work more hours.

This caused the woman's health to deteriorate, and she ultimately spoke with the hospital's management and filed another request for a reasonable accommodation to her work schedule. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees and job applicants with disabilities. The woman's request, however, was denied and days later she was fired.

The EEOC reportedly tried to reach a settlement with the hospital system, but when that failed a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The protections of the ADA are very important, particularly the requirement of reasonable accommodations. When accommodations can be made--such as a modified schedule--with no real harm resulting to the business, employers must make those accommodations. People with disabilities should not face artificial and unnecessary obstacles in employment, and this is why the ADA is so important. Those who are denied reasonable accommodations might benefit from seeking legal advice regarding their rights.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Baptist Health South Florida Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination," April 22, 2013

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