EEOC alleges Hawaii health insurance provider discriminated against disabled employees

By Marian Johns | Jul 10, 2018

HONOLULU — The federal government is suing a major health insurance provider over allegations the provider denied intermittent leave to a class of disabled employees by abruptly changing a company policy. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a suit against Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA), alleging the company violated federal law when it changed its use of intermittent leave policy as an accommodation for disabled employees.  According to the EEOC, HMSA told employees they could either work without an accommodation or resign.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, HMSA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by changing its policy and not engaging with employees to discuss other accommodations which were available. 

"Employers  should be cognizant of the reasonable accommodation requirements under federal  law," EEOC Los Angeles District regional attorney Anna Park said in a statement. "Employers who fail to try to reach such an accommodation arrangement are opening themselves to possible EEOC action." 

The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, plus injunctive relief. 

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