PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Genesis Healthcare Corp.’s partial motion to dismiss a Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit filed by a former employee, according to an opinion issued on Feb. 6.
Specifically, the district court said Genesis and several individual defendants argued that plaintiff Marilyn Hamilton “has not exhausted her administrative remedies for her employment-related claims” and that she “cannot bring claims against the individually named defendants under Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act) or the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).”
According to the opinion, Hamilton received a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Aug. 15, 2017, amid allegations that she had not received a certified nursing assistant job with Genesis because she suffers from hearing loss and needed an interpreter at her job interview.
The court said Hamilton “continued to apply for other positions with Genesis, but never received another interview,” and she “claims to have lost wages from June 20, 2017, until Aug. 11, 2017, as a result of this ‘failure to hire.’”
However, the opinion said Hamilton was hired by Genesis “four days after Ms. Hamilton filed her first EEOC complaint.”
While working for Genesis, Hamilton alleged that another employee was trying to ‘get rid’ of her by asking Hamilton “Are you deaf?" and "How much can you hear?”
Feeling that Genesis was ignoring her issues with the co-worker, the district court said Hamilton “left her shift early as a result of the mistreatment” and was subsequently fired in October 2017.
The district court said Hamilton sued Genesis on Oct. 24, 2017, and submitted a second complaint to the EEOC on Nov. 1.
“Hamilton has not produced a right-to-sue letter for her second EEOC complaint for her employment-based claims (as opposed to her hiring-based claims),” the memorandum said. “Indeed, she could not have had a right-to-sue letter for her employment-based claims at the time she filed her complaint because she had yet to file an EEOC complaint about those claims.”
Genesis requested dismissal of Hamilton’s “employment-based claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies,” the opinion said. In addition, the company asked the court to dismiss all of the claims against individual defendants.
Specifically, the district court said Genesis argued that, because Hamilton filed her employment-based claims before filing her second EEOC complaint, “she has not exhausted her administrative remedies as to this claim.”
The district court agreed with Genesis.
“The EEOC could not possibly have been on notice of Ms. Hamilton’s employment based-claims from the first EEOC complaint because the EEOC was unaware that Genesis ever hired Ms. Hamilton,” Judge Gene E.K. Pratter wrote in the opinion. “Given that those charges are markedly different and Ms. Hamilton has not demonstrated that she exhausted administrative remedies for her employment-based claims, her employment-based claims must be dismissed.”
In addition, Pratter wrote “the individually named defendants cannot be held liable for violations of Title VII or the ADA. Hence, the court grants their motion to dismiss.”