Employee with ADD Sues Clear Lake Hospital for Alleged Discrimination
A former employee of the Clear Lake Regional Medical Center claims in a new lawsuit that the hospital discriminated and retaliated against him because of his Attention Deficit Disorder (“ADD”).
The employee is a 44-year-old male, who had been promoted by the hospital to the position of echocardiographer. Nine years after his promotion he was diagnosed with ADD, a condition which indeed qualifies as a “disability” under the Americans’ With Disabilities Act, if the condition substantially impairs the employee’s ability to function. The ADA prohibits private employers, with more than 15 employees, from discriminating against individuals with disabilities in relation to application procedures, hiring, firing, job training, promotion, advancement and conditions and privileges of employment.
To qualify under the Act, an employee with a disability must be able to perform his job with “reasonable accommodations”, as long as those accommodations would not cause undue hardship on the company, such as unreasonable difficulty or expense. Further, the law does not require companies to lower quality or production in making accommodations.
In 2011, the hospital informed the employee that he would need to take quarterly cardiovascular credentialing exams. He failed the test, allegedly because of his ADD. He informed the hospital’s HR department that the exams were an undue hardship because of his disability. He provided a note from his doctor, which suggested that he be “accommodated” with an extra 60 minutes to take the test. The hospital denied the request, after which the employee again failed the test. The hospital then allegedly retaliated against him by first demoting, and then terminating him.
The employee sues for loss of income, humiliation/embarrassment, mental anguish, damage to his credibility and damage to his prospects for future employment.
At issue will likely be whether the employee was truly disabled, whether the extra time to take the exam is a “reasonable” accommodation and whether the actions the hospital took following the failure were truly in retaliation for his condition.
The hospital has not yet responded to the suit.
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