EEOC Settles with Hospital that Refused Job Accommodation for Nurse with Cancer

Angel Medical Center to Pay $85,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit with Angel Medical Center, Inc. of Franklin, NC. The hospital was charged with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying an employee an accommodation that would have allowed her to get cancer treatments while working full time. The hospital allegedly refused the accommodation request and then fired the nurse.

To learn more about the ADA and other laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities read “’s Guide to Disability Rights Laws.”

Study Finds Medical Procedures Violating the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities: Stunting Growth, Removing Body Parts with No Judicial Review

Study Finds Medical Procedures Violating the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities: Stunting Growth, Removing Body Parts with No Judicial Review

Washington, DC – In a first of its kind study, the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) determined that performing certain medical procedures or withholding life sustaining treatment in non-terminal situations without judicial review violates the civil rights of people with disabilities.

The initial catalyst for the report is the so-called Ashley Treatment which received worldwide attention 5 years ago.  Ashley was a six-year-old child with developmental and physical disabilities whose growth was stopped through estrogen treatments and whose uterus and breast buds were removed. The intent of this treatment was to keep her permanently small and child-like.  NDRN believes this practice is spreading worldwide.

“The thought of doctors and guardians, together, deciding to remove the body parts and stunt the growth of a child based on assumptions about their awareness and quality of life is shocking and disgusting,” said NDRN’s executive director, Curt Decker.

Further investigations by the nation’s federally mandated Protection and Advocacy agencies, which NDRN represents in Washington, DC, have uncovered other cases in which medical treatment and even basic food and water are being denied to individuals with disabilities during minor illnesses with the intent of letting the illness progress until death.

“In one case, the parents of a 13-year-old boy with a developmental disability refused to allow him access to antibiotics so that the cold he had would progress to pneumonia. They got their wish and the boy died,” said Decker.

“Every person is born with civil and human rights and an inherent dignity,” continued Decker. “The reality that this is happening in the United States is anathema to the core values that we as Americans say we hold. That it is happening to those unable to use their own voice is even worse. This report is meant to start the conversation about how society can and should make medical decisions that uphold the constitutional rights of all people with disabilities.”

The report, “Devaluing People with Disabilities: Medical Procedures that Violate Civil Rights,” puts individuals with disabilities at the center of discourse.  It reviews the facts of Ashley X, as a case study and presents a continuum of similar experiences and treatment of individuals with disabilities within a context of medical decision making that devalues them as people and discriminates against them based on their disability.

The report explores the conflict of interest that medical decision making may present between a parent and their child.  It describes the vital role that the legal and judicial systems have in ensuring that the civil and human rights of individuals with disabilities are protected regardless of their severity and in contrast to opinions regularly expressed in the medical and ethics community.

Finally, the report presents a series of recommendations for how the legal and medical systems at a local, state and national level, including protection and advocacy agencies, ethics committees, institutional review boards, and the courts can perform critical “watch-dog” functions to ensure that the human and civil rights of persons with disabilities are protected.

Read the full report.

Download the executive summary and recommendations.

View the report webpage here

Additional References

Burkholder, Amy. “Disable girl’s parents defend growth-stunting decision.” CNN. com 13 March, 2008. pillow.angel/index.html.

Caplan, Arthur, Ph.D. “Commentary: Is ‘Peter Pan’ treatment right?” MSNBC. com 05 January, 2007.

Dahlstrom, Linda. “Doctor at crux of stunting debate kills self.” 11 October, 2007.

Diekema, Doug, The Case of Ashley X, NWABR Ethics in Science Online Course, 2007.

Gibbs, Nancy. “Pillow Angel Ethics.” Time 07 January, 2007. http://www.time. com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1574851,00.html.

Gibbs, Nancy. “Pillow Angel Ethics, Part 2.” Time 09 January, 2007.,8599,1574851,00.html.

McDonald, Anne. “The other story from a ‘Pillow Angel’.” Seattle Post- Intelligencer 17 June, 2007. opinions/319702_noangel17.html.

A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?

A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?

Donna Martinez May 19, 2012

And apparently the US District Court in Oregon is in agreement!

From NDRN: Breaking News

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court in Oregon issued a 16-page Opinion and Order
in the case Lane v. Kiltzhaber, 3:12-cv-00138-ST. The Lane complaint claims that
failure to provide supported employment services violates Title II of the ADA
and the integration mandate. The Court granted the state defendants’ motion to
dismiss the complaint, but without prejudice and with leave to amend, while
directing the Plaintiffs how to correct the wording of the complaint. Most
importantly, the Court determined that the plaintiffs have valid cognizable
claims under Title II of the ADA and that the integration mandate applies to the
provision of employment-related services.

This case was filed by Disability Rights Oregon and co-counsels Center for
Public Representation, Perkins Coie LLP and Miller Nash LLP, on behalf of eight
individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are able and
would prefer to work in an integrated employment setting, but instead are
segregated in sheltered workshops.

Recognizing that this is a case of first impression, the Court noted “no other
case has applied the integration mandate in a context other than one in which
the state’s action places plaintiffs at risk of institutionalization. However,
the dearth of authority does not led inexorably to the conclusion that the
integration mandate is inapplicable to plaintiffs’ claims. To the contrary, the
broad language and remedial purposes of the ADA, the corresponding lack of any
limiting language in either the ADA or the integration mandate itself, and the
lack of any case law restricting the reach of the integration mandate suggests
just the opposition conclusion.” (Opinion at 10-11).

In reaching this conclusion, the Court carefully scrutinized the defendants’ arguments for dismissal, and gave deference to the U.S. Department of Justice’s interpretation
of the integration mandate which prohibits the unnecessary provision of services
in non-integrated settings, including segregated sheltered workshops. (Opinion
at 7-9).

The Court distinguished claims for a “discriminatory denial of services” versus
claims for “providing inadequate services,” holding that “a claim survives only
if it truly alleges a ‘discriminatory denial of services’ and must be dismissed
if it instead concerns the ‘adequacy’ of the services provided.” (Opinion at

Noting that the plaintiffs clarified at oral argument that they are
seeking the “provision of employment services that would allow them the
opportunity to work in an integrated setting,” and seek to have defendants
“reallocate their available resources in a way that does not unjustifiably favor
segregated employment,” the court determined that some of the allegations in the
complaint “go beyond the clarification offered” at the hearing” and identified
specific claims subject to amendment. (Opinion at 14-15).

Plaintiffs have been
given leave to amend their complaint by May 29, “to clarify that the defendants
are violating Title II of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act by denying
employment services to plaintiffs for which they are eligible with the result of
unnecessarily segregating them in sheltered workshops.” (Opinion at 16).