Tennessee hospital fired nurse after refusing to accommodate work injury, EEOC says

Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville (Tenn.) allegedly violated federal law by denying a nurse reasonable accommodation for a workplace injury and then firing her, according to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit filed Oct. 15. 

After injuring her knee while working, the nurse underwent surgery. When her physician restricted her to sedentary activity for part of the day, Tennova allegedly refused to let her continue working as a nurse and declined to reassign her to a vacant position to accommodate her medical needs. Tennova gave the nurse 10 days' notice before firing her, telling the employee to find another job at the hospital. The nurse interviewed for vacant positions but Tennova declined to hire her, the EEOC says. After firing the nurse, the hospital offered her a registrar job with a salary less than two-thirds that of her nursing position. 

The EEOC claims Tennova violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from denying reasonable accommodation or firing employees because of a disability. EEOC filed the suit after unsuccessfully attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement with Tennova. 

"We believe this case is without merit and will vigorously defend against this claim," a Tennova spokesperson told Becker's via email. 

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