WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – New Hanover Regional Medical Center will pay close to $150,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to a press release on its website, the EEOC announced Wednesday they filed the lawsuit against NHRMC for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by prohibiting applicants and employees from working if they were taking legally prescribed narcotics medications.
The EEOC says NHRMC will pay $146,000 in damages to be divided among the claimants to settle the lawsuit. Additionally, the hospital is required to revise its alcohol and drug abuse policy, its post-employment offer medical assessment policy, and its examination policy.
According to the EEOC, NHRMC must also provide annual training to managers and supervisors regarding the prohibition of disability discrimination in the workplace and post an employee notice concerning the lawsuit.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
At New Hanover Regional Medical Center, our number one priority is and will always be patient care and safety. We deny any wrongdoing. We stand by our process to assess each individual employee to ensure their medical needs are met and they can safely complete their specific job responsibilities. We have very high standards for our employees because we are entrusted with the health and safety of the patients we serve.
We agreed to the settlement to limit the financial impact of this case. This is important in these times when we're working so hard to control costs for our patients. The settlement required the hospital to make minor adjustments to our policies and procedures. These adjustments don't substantially change how we manage these cases.
NHRMC remains committed to protecting the health and safety of its patients, employees and visitors while complying fully with all employment laws.
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