Miss. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) announced a lawsuit Feb. 3 against Pioneer Health Services Inc., a
health care company in rural Georgia, alleging it unlawfully
discriminated against an employee due to her disability.
Dumas, a social worker and therapist for Pioneer Health Services, allegedly
became ill in July 2012 and was hospitalized as a result of liver failure. She
took medical leave from the company during this time. After her procedure, she
was slated to return to work. However, she purportedly had post-operation
complications. According to the EEOC, Dumas asked Pioneer Health for an
additional four weeks of leave. The company allegedly denied her request and
ADA and Family and Medical Leave Act operate independently of each other,"
said EEOC district director Delner Franklin-Thomas. "Where an employee has
exhausted her FMLA leave and she requests additional leave, the employer must
engage in the interactive process to determine whether additional leave under
the ADA is warranted."
The EEOC seeks
monetary damages, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
EEOC will continue to scrutinize instances where an employer terminates its
employee with a disability immediately upon expiration of that employee's
medical leave,” said EEOC regional attorney Marsha Rucker. “Often such
employees can be reasonably accommodated with a short extension of leave that
allows them to return to work."