Blind Woman and EEOC Settle Lawsuit against California Hospital
National Federation of the Blind Commends Consent Decree
Baltimore (September 20, 2019): Alina Sorling, a blind food service technician, has settled the lawsuit she brought against California’s Dignity Health for employment discrimination with the assistance of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the National Federation of the Blind. Ms. Sorling filed suit after she was fired from her job at Dignity Health’s Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California, after losing her vision and requesting reasonable accommodations to continue working there.
The three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit provides $570,000 to Ms. Sorling in lost wages, compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees, and requires Dignity Health to update its policies, procedures and training on the process for considering and providing reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. The company will provide anti-discrimination training to all leadership and employees, including specific immersion training under sleep shades on how blind employees accomplish various tasks for the director of Mercy Medical center; make its policies available to all employees; report all complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC for the duration of the consent decree; and post a notice for employees about the decree and employees’ rights under federal law.
“The National Federation of the blind commends this comprehensive consent decree and all who worked to reach this favorable resolution,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “As we said when suit was filed, Alina Sorling’s ability to work in food service did not diminish when she lost her sight, and this result rectifies the injustice that was done to her. We hope and believe that the consent decree will not only make Ms. Sorling whole but also prevent discrimination against blind workers in the future and ensure nondiscriminatory hiring and employment practices at Mercy Medical Center and Dignity Health’s other Northern California facilities.”