- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey operator of a hospital and several medical facilities will pay more than $1 million to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit, according to federal officials.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Monday that Princeton HealthCare System will pay $1,350,000. The money will be distributed to employees who were unlawfully terminated under the firm’s former leave of absence policies.

The EEOC suit alleged the company violated aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Family Medical Leave Act under a prior fixed leave policy. It also alleged they unlawfully fired some employees, including some qualified as disabled, after they reached their leave limits under the old policy.

Besides ordering the company to make changes to its policy, the settlement stipulates it must provide training on the ADA to their workforce.

“While the EEOC is always careful and cautious before resorting to litigation, our efforts here should encourage employers to voluntarily comply with the ADA,” David Lopez, general counsel for the EEOC said in a written statement.

Princeton HealthCare System spokesman Andrew Williams said the hospital was pleased to resolve the matter. It had challenged some of the claims in the EEOC’s suit and disagreed that its prior policy violated the ADA.

“The hospital has always been, and remains fully committed to, a workplace free of any discrimination,” Williams said in a written statement.

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