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EEOC Brings Retaliation Lawsuit Against Erickson Living Management

ADA (American Disabilities Act) in block letters with stethoscope and books

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that it has filed a retaliation lawsuit against Erickson Living Management, LLC (Erickson) pursuant to the anti-retaliation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, an employee is protected from retaliation when he or she complains about perceived disability discrimination in the workplace, even if the perceived disability discrimination is against another employee.

On February 25, 2019, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, EEOC v. Erickson Living Management, LLC, Case No. 1:19-cv-585, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. The EEOC’s retaliation lawsuit is brought on behalf of a former employee of Erickson, Felecia West (West). In this article, our Marion County, Florida retaliation lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against Erickson.

EEOC’S Allegations Of Retaliation

Erickson is a Maryland based company which builds and manages retirement communities in 11 states. In October 2014, Erickson hired West as Director of Talent Development, Health Services and Global Programs. In this position, West directly supervised the Director of Health Services Talent Development. The Director of Health Services Talent Development suffered from a disability in the form of anxiety and bipolar disorder. The Director of Health Services Talent Development was approved for intermittent leave under the Family Medical Leave Act to accommodate doctors’ appointments related to her disability.

In December 2016, West complained to an employee in the Human Resources Department that the Director of Health Services Talent Development was being singled out for different treatment because of manifestations of her disability. During this meeting, West also expressed concerns that she would be retaliated against for reporting what she believed was discrimination. Later that month, the Director of Health Services Talent Development also expressed similar concerns about her disability to the same employee in the Human Resources Department. No one ever followed up with either West or the Director of Health Services Talent Development.

In January 2017, West and the Director of Health Services Talent Development were notified that they were being terminated due to “restructuring” within the company. This was the first time that West and the Director of Health Services Talent Development had heard any mention of a restructuring. They were the only two employees terminated as a result of this restructuring. Erickson did not offer West an alternative position even though there were two available on the Human Services Team for which she was qualified. The EEOC claims that Erickson used the alleged restructuring as a pretext to terminate West in retaliation for complaining about perceived disability discrimination against the Director of Health Services Talent Development.

EEOC Protects Employees From Retaliation

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of employment discrimination and retaliation. In a press release regarding the case, the EEOC Philadelphia Director, Jamie R. Williamson, stated that the “EEOC is committed to protecting employees from retaliation,” and explained that “[t]his case should remind employers to investigate internal complaints of discrimination and not retaliate against those brave enough to oppose perceived discrimination.”

Free Consultation With Ocala Retaliation Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, we have represented employment discrimination and retaliation victims in hundreds of cases before the EEOC. If you have been a victim of retaliation or have questions about your protection from retaliation under the anti-retaliation provisions of the federal employment discrimination laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Marion County, Florida retaliation attorneys. Our employment and labor law attorneys take retaliation cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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