Princeton HealthCare System ("PHCS") pays $1,350,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). According to published accounts PHCS's fixed leave policy failed to consider leave as a reasonable accommodation, in violation of the ADA.
PHCS's leave policy merely tracked the requirements of the federal Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), employee leaves were limited to a maximum of 12 weeks. PHCS's policy meant that employees who were not eligible for FMLA leave were fired after being absent for a short time, and many more were fired once they were out more than 12 weeks.
"Employers must understand that fixed leave policies, by definition, limit the opportunity for the employee and employer to engage in the interactive process and determine whether leave may be a reasonable accommodation under the federal law." said EEOC attorney Rosemary DiSavino