Yale New Haven Hospital sued over exam policy for employees 70+ years

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital, alleging its policy mandating eye and neuropsychological exams for employees age 70 or older who seek medical privileges violates two federal antidiscrimination laws.

Yale New Haven implemented its late career practitioner policy about four years ago. The policy requires employees 70 and older who apply for or seek to renew staff privileges to take both medical exams. Employees under age of 70 are not required to take the exam.

In the lawsuit, filed Feb. 11, EEOC claims that the individuals required to be tested are singled out solely because of their age, instead of a suspicion that their cognitive abilities may have declined. 

As a result, Yale New Haven's policy violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the lawsuit says. 

"While Yale New Haven Hospital may claim its policy is well-intentioned, it violates antidiscrimination laws," said Jeffrey Burstein, a regional attorney for the EEOC's New York District office. "There are many other nondiscriminatory methods already in place to ensure the competence of all of its physicians and other healthcare providers, regardless of age."

In addition, the EEOC charges that the policy also violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it subjects employees to medical examinations that are not job-related.

"Yale New Haven Hospital's late career practitioner policy is designed to protect our patients from potential harm while including safeguards to ensure that our physicians are treated fairly," a Yale New Haven spokesperson told Becker's. "The policy is modeled on similar standards in other industries and we are confident that no discrimination has occurred and will vigorously defend ourselves in this matter."

Editor's Note: This article was updated Feb. 11, 2020 at 12:33 p.m. to include a statement from Yale New Haven.

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