Limiting nursing home shift to 8 hours was reasonable request, EEOC charges in discrimination suit

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A New Mexico nursing home broke federal law by not allowing an employee with health problems to limit his shifts to eight hours, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has charged.

The 119-bed Paloma Blanca Health and Rehabilitation facility in Albuquerque violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it fired Doug Johnson while he was on leave recuperating from a heart attack, according to charges the EEOC filed March 11.

Johnson was a driver and central supply clerk at the nursing home, an EEOC official told McKnight's. Because he had diabetes and a heart condition, Johnson requested to work shifts no longer than eight hours. This would have been a reasonable accommodation as defined by the ADA, the federal agency argues.

By firing Johnson “because of his disabilities and/or because he requested accommodation for them,” Paloma Blanca unlawfully discriminated against him due to his disabilities, according to the EEOC.

The lawsuit seeks back wages and damages, as well as a permanent injunction to prevent the facility from engaging in similar practices, the commission announced Thursday.

A telephone call from McKnight's to Paloma Blanca's administrator had not been returned as of press time.

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