Downriver Community Services Fired Counselor Because of Disability

Downriver Community Services (photo
EEOC files suit when breast feeding disabled woman fired

EEOC, DETROIT – A New Haven, Mich.-based provider of community health services violated federal law by denying a reasonable accommodation to, firing, and then refusing to rehire a female employee because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

The lawsuit alleges Holly Wiseman was a breastfeeding peer counselor for Downriver Community Services and was denied extended leave to treat her herniated disc in January 2014.  The lawsuit further alleges that Wiseman was fired and then denied rehire because of her disability.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of a disability.  The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for Wiseman in the form of back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.  EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Downriver Community Services, Case No. _______ ) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Ms. Wiseman was a good employee, but according to EEOC’s investigation the management chose to deny her a reasonable accommodation, fire her, and then refuse to rehire her simply because of her condition,” said EEOC Indianapolis Regional Attorney Laurie Young.  “EEOC will vigorously pursue violations of the ADA when employers base their decisions upon such grounds.”

The Indianapolis District Office of EEOC oversees Indiana, Michigan and parts of Kentucky and Ohio.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination.  Further information is available at

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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