SNF sued after firing worker with anxiety

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a Nashville-based skilled nursing and rehabilitation company for refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who suffers from an anxiety disorder, and then ring the employee because of her disability.

Federal officials say that West Meade Place LLC — operating as The HealthCare Center at West Meade Place — hired the employee as a laundry technician in February 2015. When she requested leave that November to cope with her anxiety disorder, she was told that the Family and Medical Leave Act did not apply to her.

West Meade then required the employee to provide a doc- tor's note clearing her to return to work without any restrictions less than 36 hours later. It fired her when she could not produce one, according to the suit.

Such alleged conduct violates the American Disabilities Act, the commission said in a February press release announcing the lawsuit, which was led in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee after first attempting a settlement.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to keep West Meade from discriminating against employees based on their disabilities in the future, as well as back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the dis- crimination victim.

“Management officials have a responsibility under federal law to consider all reasonable requests to accommodate employees' disabilities,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office. “When an employer refuses to do so, the EEOC is here to put things right.”

The 120-bed HealthCare Center at West Meade Place employs more than 200 people, according to the company's website. The facility did not return a McKnight's call for comment.