Cancer should not result in termination!
CHICAGO, IL – According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Illinois Action for Children fired a female employee, Myrnie Brown, with breast cancer instead of granting request for temporary medical leave.
If true, such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), along with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits disability discrimination in employment. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals and employees with disabilities in all areas of public life. Such protection extends to a person’s place of employment, school, and transportation, as well as all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the ADA is to protect all persons with disabilities and ensure that they have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else—I.E., “equality” under the law and an equal opportunity for such individuals. Like other civil rights laws that provide protection from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion, so too does the ADA for persons with disabilities.
A person qualifies as having a disability if the individual (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
Specifically relevant to employees, Title I of the ADA prohibits all private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against “qualified individuals” with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, advancement, payment, training, firing, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. Under this section, a “qualified” applicant or employee with a disability is an individual who, “with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions” of the position in question.
In the case at hand (EEOC v. Illinois Action for Children, Civil Action No. 17-cv-622), the EEOC brought the suit after failing to reach a settlement.
District Director for the EEOC in Chicago, Julianne Bowman, explained, “Our investigation revealed that Illinois Action for Children fired Myrnie Brown while she was receiving treatments for breast cancer rather than granting her request from her doctor for a short period of additional leave to receive additional treatment. Ms. Brown had been employed with Illinois Action for Children for almost two and half years at the time of her termination. Although Illinois Action for Children eventually rehired Ms. Brown, because of her termination over breast cancer leave, she was denied the opportunity to work at her job for over six months.”
Courts have repeatedly found that in certain circumstances, a leave of absence, like the one Ms. Brown requested, may constitute a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA. Moreover, the EEOC’s own guidance states that an employer may need to accommodate an employee who is unable to work while he or she is undergoing chemotherapy or other treatments, as the Plaintiff in this case needed.
Gochanour went on to say, “Anyone suffering from breast cancer has enough to face and overcome without her employer violating federal law and denying her adequate leave to combat her illness. When such a situation sadly occurs, the EEOC is ready to step in and fight for people who are fighting discrimination as well as cancer.”
Our attorneys are knowledgeable, extremely prepared, and ready to facilitate your disability discrimination lawsuit. So if you feel you have been the victim of an ADA violations or if your employment rights have been violated, in New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia then you should immediately contact the experienced New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Working with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, we have recovered millions for our clients. Please call today to schedule a FREE ADA consultation by calling 877-469-5297, toll free.
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