A Western New York skilled care provider has agreed to pay $465,000 to settle charges that it discriminated against pregnant and disabled employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the settlement earlier this week with Absolut Care, which is based in East Aurora, NY, and owns about a dozen upstate nursing home and assisted living facilities.
Absolut will pay $40,000 in lost wages to Lisa Valentin, a former food service supervisor at its Orchard Brooke facility, under the terms of the agreement. Valentin had sought to take a brief medical leave after suffering serious complications from her pregnancy, but was denied by her employer. Absolut did grant her 30 days, but declined to hold her job open during that period, and she was later fired after the leave expired.
The EEOC’s class action lawsuit also alleged that Absolut subjected workers to unlawful medical inquiries and testing, and failed to accommodate or grant leave to other disabled workers. The remainder of the settlement, $425,000, establishes a fund to compensate other victims.
Absolut, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, also agreed to revise its leave of absence, discipline and attendance policies to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We appreciate Absolut Care’s willingness to resolve this case before the parties spent significant time and money in litigation,” EEOC attorney Elizabeth Fox-Solomon said in a statement.