Dependable Health Services, Inc. (DHS), a provider of contract workers to United States military facilities, has agreed to a $40,000 disability discrimination settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged that DHS fired an employee when she returned to work  after being hospitalized for stroke-like symptoms, because management officials believed she had suffered a stroke.  The employee had been cleared to return to work by her doctor with a 2-week restriction on work hours, however, she was still experiencing temporary facial paralysis likely caused by Bell’s palsy when she was terminated by DHS.

Bell’s palsy causes a temporary paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of the face. It comes on suddenly, often overnight, and usually gets better on its own within a few weeks.  While Bell’s palsy  can cause facial paralysis, similar in appearance to a stroke there is no link between Bell’s palsy and a stroke.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from terminating or otherwise taking adverse employment action against a qualified individual because of her disability, record of disability, or because the employer perceives a person as being disabled.

“In this case an employee suffered financially because an employer misjudged her condition and her ability to work,” said EEOC Trial Attorney David Rivela of the agency’s San Antonio Field Office. “The ADA requires that all employees be given equal opportunity to do their jobs regardless of an actual or perceived disability, and employers should not make decisions based on perceptions about someone’s supposed impairment. This case should remind all employers that the ADA requires employers to make an individualized assessment about an applicant or employee’s ability to do the job instead of acting out of speculative fears or biases.”

If have suffered wrongful termination or discrimination due to a disability, please give Los Angeles Employment Attorney, Todd M. Friedman a call at (877) 449-8898 for a free consultation.