Dignity Health accused of discriminating against employee who lost vision

By Marian Johns | Jul 18, 2018

REDDING, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — California-based Dignity Health is facing charges from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that the company discriminated against a 10-year employee after her sudden vision loss.

The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it fired a food service technician after an illness left her with her vision loss. 

According to the EEOC, after her illness and vision loss, Dignity Health employee Alina Sorling took unpaid leave to undergo rehabilitation and learn non-visual techniques, but the company refused to provide her accommodations and allow her to return to work after instituting a 20/40 vision requirement for her job after firing her.

"The ADA requires a two-way interactive process between the employer and employee," EEOC trial attorney Ami Sanghvi said in a statement.  "Yet, without providing alternatives, Dignity Health rejected the multiple possibilities Ms. Sorling proposed. Even when she offered to bring in a paid analyst to assess the job site and recommend accommodations, Dignity Health turned her down, and instead chose to fire her based on her impairment and an unjustifiable vision standard."

The EEOC is seeking lost wages, expenses, upfront pay, compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

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