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Clinic Sued for Allegedly Firing Employee for Not Disclosing Disability in Job Interview

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is pursuing a case against an employer the agency says fired a new employee for not disclosing her low vision disability in her job interview.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from soliciting information about a job applicant’s disability prior to a job offer, according to the federal agency.

The EEOC alleges in a lawsuit that All Day Medical Care Clinic, which operates five medical clinics in Maryland, violated federal law by firing its scheduling assistant on her first day of work shortly after she requested an accommodation for her visual impairments.

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According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, after the scheduling assistant informed All Day Medical Care Clinic about her vision impairments and need for accommodation, the employer questioned why she did not raise these issues in her interview, and immediately terminated her.

The employer ignored her later communications asking to remain employed, as well as subsequent overtures from her vocational representative to install and fund the accommodations, the EEOC said.

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According to the EEOC, the ADA also prohibits an employer from refusing to employ a worker who might need a reasonable accommodation in an attempt to avoid accommodating the employee’s disability.

According to the lawsuit, the former employee’s vision has been impaired since birth and surgeries have failed to correct it. Her vision is 20/200 in her left eye and 20/80 in her right eye.

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Prior to joining All Day Medical Care Clinic, she was employed for multiple years in an administrative support role with another health care provider.

On her first day on the job, she notified the clinic’s chief executive officer (CEO) of her disability and her need for an accommodation, which is an Optelec Magnification and Zoomtext software. The lawsuit alleges that a few hours later that same day, the CEO told her that she should have disclosed her disability and need for accommodation during her interview. The CEO then told her to leave, according to the complaint.

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EEOC claims that within hours, the employee’s caseworker from the Department of Rehabilitation Services contacted the CEO and offered to install and pay for the software which would have enabled her to perform her job. The caseworker followed up with the CEO in the evening by telephone and email, but received no response.

The EEOC said it filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The EEOC alleges the clinic fired her over her disability and because of the need to make reasonable accommodation to her disability.

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The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the employee, and injunctive relief.

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