EEOC sues company that fired employee on approved medical leave after she requested an extension

GGNSC Administrative Services, Inc, a centralized billing and collections office for nursing homes, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing an employee while she was on approved medical leave because of her disability and failing to explore potential accommodations, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) contends in a lawsuit filed on March 12, 2012.

GGNSC violated the ADA by terminating Mary Benford, a collections specialist, when she requested an extension of her medical leave for treatment of osteoarthritis in her left knee, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit (EDWis, No 2:12-cv-00238). After receiving the request for an extension of leave, the company terminated Benford, even though at the time she was still on an approved leave, the commission said.

The EEOC also asserts that GGNSC failed to engage in the required interactive process to discuss accommodation alternatives with Benford, and instead, fired her with no warning.

The commission’s lawsuit seeks, among other things, monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining GGNSC from further discriminating on the basis of disability.

“GGNSC terminated Ms. Benford, a four-year employee, simply for requesting the accommodation of a 3.5 week extension of her medical leave,” said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District. “A company is legally obligated to work toward reasonable accommodations with its employees.”