Rivers Casino Sued for Firing Employee Who Needed Time Off for Cancer Treatment

Casino Violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by Refusing Time Off for Cancer Surgery, Federal Agency Charges

CHICAGO – Rivers Casino in Des Plaines violated federal law prohibiting disability discrim­ination by denying an employee’s request for additional leave to get cancer treatment and then firing him, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago, the EEOC’s pre-suit investigation revealed that Rivers Casinos wrongfully denied Donnan Lake’s request for a reason­able accommodation of a few additional weeks of leave to have surgery related to his cancer. Lake suffers from sarcoma and has required chemotherapy and surgery to treat his cancer.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified employees with disa­bilities, include providing medical leave if does not present an undue burden to the employer.

The EEOC filed yesterday’s suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case (EEOC v. Midwest Gaming LLC, dba Rivers Casino, Civil Action No. 17-cv-6811 was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division and assigned to Judge Rubin Castillo.

“Employers need to be reminded that a limited request for medical leave can be a reasonable accommodation and employers risk violating the law if they summarily deny such requests,” said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office.  “Mr. Lake was a good employee who just needed a little more time to fight his cancer. It is unfortunate that Rivers ignored its obligations under the ADA and fired him while he was trying to fight his cancer.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Food Service Company to Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Legendary Baking Fired Employee Because of Spinal Cord Condition, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – An Illinois food service company will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Nashville, Tenn.-based American Blue Ribbons Holding, LLC dba Legendary Baking, violated federal law by denying light duty work to Patricia Hall, an employee at its Oak Forest, Ill., baking facility. Hall has CSP myelopathy, a condition affecting her spinal cord. The company then fired Hall and refused to rehire her because of her disability, the EEOC charged.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed its lawsuit on Aug. 23, 2016 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago (Civil Action No. 16 C 8266) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge John Robert Blakey, Legendary Baking will pay Hall $35,000. In addition, the decree enjoins Legendary Baking from engaging in disability discrimination or retaliation. Further, the decree requires the company to train its managers at the Oak Forest location with respect to the requirements of the ADA and to report complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC.

“The EEOC is satisfied that this employer now clearly understands that disability discrimination is unacceptable and unlawful,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago. “We also are gratified that vigorous enforcement on the Commission’s part has led to appropriate corrective action and compensation for the victim.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Gregory Gochanour noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.

Gochanour said, “We appreciate Legendary Baking’s determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve the case by providing compensation to Ms. Hall and undertaking measures to assure future compliance with the ADA.”