NHC Healthcare must pay $50,000 over allegations of pregnancy and disability discrimination

By Mark Iandolo | Jan 29, 2016

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Legal Newsline) – NHC Healthcare/Clinton LLC, due to allegations of pregnancy and disability discrimination, will pay $50,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced.

NHC Healthcare hired Tonya Aria as a full-time licensed practical nurse at a nursing facility in Clinton, South Carolina in 2002. Aria suffers from paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), the EEOC states. PSVT is controlled by medication, the EEOC states, and without medication can cause rapid heart rate, numbness in the extremities, tunnel vision and occasional blackouts. According the lawsuit, NHC was aware of her condition when it hired Aria.

Aria purportedly learned she was pregnant in December 2012 and stopped taking her medications because of possible side effects it could have on her baby. The untreated PSVT caused problems and Aria was allegedly forced to undergo bed rest in January 2013. She was out for three workdays and on Jan. 15, she was allegedly fired. The EEOC alleges that NHC failed to make proper accommodations for Aria when it did not allow medical leave.

This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects employees from discrimination due to disability.

"This settlement should remind employers that federal law protects pregnant workers who develop a disability during pregnancy," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "All employers should implement effective anti-discrimination policies, procedures and training to ensure proper protections for pregnant employees."

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