National HealthCare Corporation Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination
Woman Fired Because of Multiple Sclerosis and Bursitis, Federal Agency Charged
ATLANTA – National HealthCare Corporation (NHC), a nationwide long-term and nursing care provider headquartered in Tennessee with two facilities in Georgia, unlawfully discriminated against an employee due to her disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, NHC violated federal law by firing Elisa Stamey because she had multiple sclerosis (MS) and a history of bursitis. Stamey, a registered nurse with over 15 years of experience, applied for a job with NHC’s Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga., location and was hired in December 2009 as a part-time weekend registered nurse/shift supervisor. On Dec. 21, 2009, she received her schedule and filled out the new hire paperwork including a medical questionnaire which revealed her medical conditions. Upon learning of these, the company required a medical release from Stamey’s physician. The next day, before she could get the proper form from her doctor, Stamey was terminated.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on a disability or perceived disability. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Stamey. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief designed to stop and prevent any future discrimination.
“The EEOC is committed to vigorously enforcing the ADA,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “As Congress made clear in the ADAAA, the protections for persons with disabilities should be broadly applied. Ms. Stamey is a perfect example of the people the amendment was designed to protect.”