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Health system pays $180,000 in disability discrimination lawsuit

If an employee is working hard and complying with the terms of his or her employment, there should be no reason for employers to dismiss the employee. However, many disabled employees receive unfair treatment or are even subject to wrongful discharge as a result of their conditions. For some people, it can be difficult to even find a job, as some employers are reluctant to hire someone with disabilities. Residents of Indiana should be on the lookout for such discrimination and be prepared to challenge it.

In Maryland, a former employee of Upper Chesapeake Medical Center is to receive $180,000 from the local health system. This is intended as a settlement in a lawsuit claiming that, not only did the company not reassign her to a more suitable position in light of her disability, but they used her disability as a reason to dismiss her altogether.

The former pulmonary function technologist had consistently good feedback and performance evaluations throughout the 19 years she worked at the medical center. However, in light of employer concerns that her disability would be detrimental to her work, she should have been reassigned to a position that accommodated her condition. Instead, the medical center chose to terminate her in a move that has been assumed to be retaliatory.

The former employee suffers from a condition called Usher's syndrome. This genetic disorder has a number of characteristics that make it quite difficult to continue her specific job functions, including loss of hearing and fluctuations in vision. However, despite the possible setbacks involved, the employee would still have been able to carry out other jobs. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are expected to provide reasonable accommodations for their disabled employees. Yet, as this incident demonstrates, not all companies choose to follow this rule and some will risk dismissing people rather than taking the time to accommodate them.

This case happened in another state, but it is a notable example for residents of Indiana. Being denied the ability to work or being treated unfairly can be frustrating and exhausting and it is important to challenge the employer putting you in that position. A knowledgeable attorney can help you to clarify the situation and seek the compensation you might deserve for your ill-treatment.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Upper Chesapeake settles federal discrimination suit," Allan Vought, April 16, 2014

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