Hospital Accused of Firing Employee for Having Cancer

May 12, 2009 ( - A Pittsburgh hospital charged with firing an employee because she had cancer has agreed to pay $100,000 and furnish other equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to an EEOC press release, the lawsuit against LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh, Inc. said former business manager Diana Altieri-Hand needed a reasonable accommodation for her disability after she had surgery for cancer and underwent chemotherapy. LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh, a free-standing hospital facility managed or operated by LifeCare Management Services, LLC, initially provided a reasonable accommodation to her.

However, according to the EEOC, in about August 2007 the regional director of finance suddenly stopped accommodating Altieri-Hand’s disability and demanded that she return to work full-time with no restrictions. After Altieri-Hand returned to work full time, the supervisor discriminated against her because of her disability, including substantially increasing her workload, removing her full-time staff assistant, and subjecting her to unwarranted work scrutiny.

Altieri-Hand was a longstanding employee of LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh or its predecessor and had a good performance record, the press release said.

Finally, the EEOC charged, the hospital fired Altieri-Hand because of her disability.