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Lawsuit alleges discrimination against worker with anxiety

Pennsylvania workers may be interested in the details of a lawsuit that has been filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a skilled nursing facility. The lawsuit alleges that the company discriminated against an employee by first denying her medical leave and then firing her for reasons related to a medical condition.

The employee worked at the facility in Tennessee as a laundry technician. She started her job in February 2015 and requested leave of absence in November of the same year. The reason for her request was to have time off to cope with her anxiety disorder. She was told that the Family and Medical Leave Act did not apply in her case. She was then told to bring a note from a doctor saying that she could return to work with no restrictions. She was given less than 36 hours to do this, and when she did not, she was fired.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit after first attempting to reach a settlement. In a February press release, the agency announced the lawsuit and stated that the employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit seeks back pay and punitive damages for the worker, as well as an injunction to prevent the employer from future discriminatory actions against workers with disabilities.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities. The phrase 'reasonable accommodation" generally means that the employer must do things such as giving the worker time off for medical appointments and providing special equipment or work spaces as necessary. But employers are not required to accommodate disabled workers if doing so would cause undue hardship.

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