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U of Maryland physicians settle disability discrimination suit

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, employers here in Maryland and throughout the country are banned from discriminating against people with disabilities. Discriminatory actions include not only things like the outright refusal to hire a person based on a disability, and refusing a promotion to someone on the basis of a disability, but also failing to make reasonable accommodations to facilitate a disabled person's employment.

In fact, the ADA specifies that employers must make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers. The University of Maryland Faculty Physicians, Inc., was recently found to have failed to do this, and it has now agreed to pay $92,500 to settle allegations of disability discrimination.

The case involved a medical practice representative who worked for the employer answering phone calls and organizing appointments. The woman had Crohn's disease, and she reportedly took a two-week leave to undergo treatment. She ended up requesting an additional day of leave, but instead of making the reasonable accommodation, the practice fired her under its attendance policy.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found the attendance policy to be in violation of the ADA, because it did not allow exceptions in order to make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities.

It filed a lawsuit against the medical practice, and in addition to the monetary settlement, the medical practice has agreed to revise its attendance policy as well as provide ADA training to management and human resources workers.

Disability accommodations are a very important part of the ADA, as they are often necessary to remove artificial barriers to employment. It is important that employers in Maryland understand their responsibilities under the ADA, and that workers understand their rights.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "University of Maryland Faculty Physicians, Inc. Will Pay $92,500 to Settle Disability Lawsuit," Feb. 19, 2013

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