Court rules Johns Hopkins wrongly terminated job offer to deaf nurse

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A U.S. district court judge found Baltimore-based JohnsHopkinsHospital violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act when officials rescinded a job offer to a deaf nurse following her request for a sign language interpreter, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Hopkins officials called nurse Lauren Searls', RN, employment both a financial and safety concern in its response to the lawsuit, according to Ms. Searls' lawyer Joseph Espo.

After graduating from Hopkins' School of Nursing in 2012, Ms. Searls said she was encouraged to apply for a job on a unit where she had done a clinical rotation, and received a job offer the next day.

The hospital later rescinded its job offer following Ms. Searls' request for an interpreter, citing financial concerns in an official letter. The hospital estimated the additional services could cost $120,000 annually, twice a nurse's starting salary, according to the lawsuit.

During litigation, Mr. Espo said the judge found Hopkins wrongly compared the cost of the interpreter with the nursing salary when it should have compared the cost to its own budget. The hospital unit in question has an annual budget of $3.4 million.    

"Johns Hopkins Health System is an equal opportunity employer and believes strongly in diversity and inclusion," Hopkins spokeswoman Jania Matthews told The Baltimore Sun. "We make every effort to honor reasonable requests for accommodation in the workplace and will continue to do so."

A trial to determine damages has not yet been scheduled.

Ms. Searls currently works as a nurse at Rochester (N.Y.) MedicalCenter's StrongMemorialHospital, where she is supplied with an interpreter. 

 

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