The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal discrimination laws.The laws apply to any employers with at least 15 employees. Before an individual may bring a discrimination suit against their employer, they are required to file an EEOC complaint.
Each year the EEOC handles roughly 95,000 charges each year. 30 percent of those claims are for disability discrimination. The vast majority of entities defending themselves against these claims are healthcare companies and medical providers. Despite there being no evidence to support a discrimination problem with these employers, entities such as nursing homes, hospitals, managed care providers, etc. are more likely to find themselves facing a disability discrimination claim.
Why are these medical providers under fire? There are several reasons why some individuals in the employment law sector believe they may be targets. First, these cases are relatively easy for the EEOC because they tend to settle easily. Second, it is bad press for a care organization to end up in the press and great press for the EEOC. Third, the public may expect it. When care organizations are cited for disability discrimination, there is a greater public demand for accountability. The EEOC is expected to strictly enforce the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) with these entities.
How can medical providers avoid EEOC claims with employees?
Avoiding EEOC claims requires employers to establish a strong policy and make sure they conduct trainings with employees to ensure they are followed. Disability discrimination can occur in a multitude of situations including hiring, promotions, terminations, compensation, job assignments and the issuing fringe benefits.
An employment law attorney who is familiar with disabilities claim defense should be considered for drafting or reviewing company policies and training. Building these relationships early can also be valuable in the event that an employer needs to defend themselves against an EEOC claim.