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Home Health Aide Awarded $30K in Disability Discrimination Suit

November 3, 2014

A Minnesota home care provider must pay $30,000 to a home health aide who lost her job after her supervisors saw her walking with a cane, following a consent decree approved on October 28.

In 2011, two supervisors at Baywood Home Care contacted the company’s owner after seeing the aide, Laurie Goodnough, use a cane to help her walk. The owner fired Goodnough, who has fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a federal lawsuit on Goodnough’s behalf, alleging that Baywood had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to reasonably accommodate workers with disabilities.

The EEOC also alleged that Baywood required job applicants to specify any physical ailments that may prevent them from doing their job, which is also an ADA violation, the Star Tribune reported.

In agreeing to the consent decree, Baywood agreed to pay Goodnough $30,000 but does not admit any guilt. Court documents show that representatives from Baywood repeatedly denied the allegations made by the EEOC.

Baywood has also agreed to train its employees in the ADA, report all disability discrimination complaints directly to the EEOC over the next three years, and hold managers accountable for failing to address discrimination complaints.

— by Matthew Ozga

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