Sharp Healthcare to Pay $90K to Settle Disability Discrimination Suit with EEOC

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Sharp Memorial Hospital turns pink at night. Courtesy Sharp

San Diego-based Sharp Healthcare will pay $90,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Tuesday.

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According to the EEOC, Sandra Juarez applied for a surgical scrub technician position at the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion in 2012, and was offered the position contingent upon passing a medical examination.

Sharp rescinded the offer after the exam due to a perceived disability involving a minor ankle ailment that would not have affected her job performance, according to the EEOC. A few months later, she was hired into the same position at another medical facility.

As part of the settlement, Sharp will retain an external equal employment monitor; review and revise disability accommodation policies and practices to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act; provide annual disability discrimination training for employees, supervisors and managers who are involved in the accommodation process; post an employee notice; and undertake record keeping and reporting to the EEOC.

The external equal employment monitor will review Sharp’s policies and practices and assist the healthcare provider with ADA compliance.

“We have seen an increase in employers failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Anna Park, a regional attorney for the federal agency. “We encourage employers to ensure proper training regarding the hiring process to prevent disability discrimination and possible legal liability.”

The ADA prohibits employment discrimination based on an actual or perceived disability.

“I am glad that Sharp agreed to make sure its hiring practices comply with the ADA so that people like me are no longer discriminated against and wrongly told that we cannot work due to a perceived disability,” Juarez said. “I hope others will benefit from this case because I stood up for myself with the help of the EEOC.”

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Sharp released a statement that said it “remains committed to being an equal opportunity employer and complying with the requirements of the ADA and all other laws relating to employment.”

—City News Service

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