clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Employment suit against St. Alexius Hospital can proceed, judge rules

A lawsuit claiming a Hoffman Estates hospital fired a greeter over her cognitive disability has been cleared to proceed to trial after a ruling this week in federal court.

Joy Wantuki had been working as a greeter at St. Alexius Medical Center for about six months when she was fired in February 2010. She has a cognitive disability as the result of a previous traumatic brain injury, the lawsuit claims.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the hospital on her behalf in 2012, court records show.

In a motion for summary judgment, the hospital argued it fired her because she was not performing in her position, and that no accommodation would have enabled her to carry out her duties, the EEOC said.

However, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman rejected that argument Monday in an order denying the motion. He ruled that a jury could find that St. Alexius could have offered her reasonable accommodations to allow her to keep working, such as providing written instructions.

“We see too many cases of health care providers falling down in terms of compliance with the ADA even though one would think they would be especially sensitive to disability issues,” said John Hendrickson, an attorney for the EEOC.

“So we’re hopeful that this case will spur employers in the health care industries to be more attentive to the requirements federal disability discrimination law.”

A hospital spokesperson could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

The order clears the way for the case to proceed to a jury trial, scheduled for Dec. 1, the EEOC said.