An employment safety watchdog is ordering one North Carolina provider to pay up after it fired a certified nursing assistant who was unable to perform her duties because of arthritis.
The Equal Opportunity Employment Opportunity Commission announced its settlement agreement with Harborview Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center on Monday. It alleges that, after Katrina Friend was hired in 2015, she had to briefly discontinue her medications for rheumatoid arthritis while she waited for insurance coverage to kick in. This led to a flare up of the condition.
After restarting her pill regimen, she requested four weeks of light work so her medications could start to take full effect; she was having difficulty gripping objects. Instead, the Morehead City, NC, nursing home placed Friend on unpaid leave, and despite saying she could return to duty in four weeks, according to filings, it later fired her for exceeding its two-week leave policy.
The EEOC subsequently filed suit, alleging Harborview violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to paying the $21,000 settlement, the provider also must develop a policy to accommodate those with disabilities, provide annual training on ADA requirements to workers, and post a notice for employees about the lawsuit and anti-discrimination laws.
Harborview did not answer calls placed to the phone number listed on its website Tuesday afternoon.