CA facility allegedly fires employees with disabilities: EEOC

A California senior living corporation discriminates against employees with disabilities, a new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit alleges. But the CEO of the company rebuts the accusations, calling them “inflammatory.”

In 2012 and 2013, Magnolia Health Corporation hired nine workers and fired them after disabilities or past injuries were detected in physical exams. That violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the EEOC.

However, Magnolia's CEO Kensett Moyle said the company followed California's Title 22 employment regulations, which states all employees must complete a physical either 90 days prior or seven days after they start working. Magnolia has not yet received a copy of the complaint, according to Moyle.

“We have not heard from the EEOC in 19 months, so this took us by surprise,” Moyle told McKnight's. “The generalizations they made about our lack of hiring people with a disability hit us really hard.”

Moyle said records from up to three years ago may not have been as specific as they would be today: The company now documents discussions with potential employees about reasonable accommodations, he said.

“Any employment decisions which may have been made affecting certain individuals were made with the interests of our residents and their safety at heart,” Moyle said in an official statement. “As the parents of a disabled child, my wife and I are sickened to read EEOC's inflammatory characterization.”

Magnolia operates six healthcare and assisted living facilities in Tulare, Visalia and Porterville, CA.

The EEOC said it filed the lawsuit after making several attempts to resolve the case. It is seeking unspecified monetary damages for the employees.