The U.S. Attorney’s Office today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for violating Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against charging Roosevelt CareCenters, a long-term care facility operated by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority.
Joseph P. Cryan, the executive director of the Middlesex County Utilities Authority and a state senator who represents four Union County communities, did not comment on the allegations that the agency violated the civil rights of an employee.
The lawsuit alleges that Roosevelt Care Centers, a long-term care facility operated by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, unlawfully terminated a dietary worker whose disability inhibited her ability to lift objects heavier than 20 pounds.
“No one should be denied their right to work because of a disability,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger. “The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted to prohibit employers from denying employment to people with disabilities without making a reasonable accommodation.”
Before sustaining an injury that caused the permanent lifting impairment, the employee had been successfully working at Roosevelt Care Centers for about 18 years and remained able to perform the essential functions of her position.
Nonetheless, Roosevelt Care Centers terminated the dietary worker’s employment due to her disability without engaging in an interactive process to provide her with reasonable accommodation.
Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to the hiring, advancement or discharge of employees; employee compensation; and other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
An employer may not demote, terminate, or deny employment opportunities to an employee who is otherwise qualified if the demotion or termination is based on the need to make reasonable accommodations for the employee.
This matter was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights Division based on a referral from the Newark Area Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. U.S. Attorney Sellinger created a Civil Rights Division last year with the goal of protecting and upholding the civil rights of those in our community.
Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney’s Office at http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/civil-rights-enforcement/complaint or call the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339.
Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thandiwe Boylan of the Civil Rights Division in Newark.
On or about April 4, 2016, the dietary worker injured her right wrist and elbow while using a broken dishwasher in the kitchen at the nursing home.
The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegation must still be proven in federal court.
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