Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 30, 2013

Health Care Provider to Pay $70,000 to Settle Age and Disability Discrimination Charge by Nurse Fired after 37 Years

ST. PAUL, MN - A nurse in her mid-70s who worked for Health East and Health Inventures in Maplewood until she was fired in 2009 will receive $70,000 in settlement of a charge of disability and age discrimination filed with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

The Department of Human Rights found probable cause to believe that Health Inventures discriminated against the nurse, Bernice Schwab, by failing to accommodate a disability she developed after she fell and injured her shoulder. The Department also concluded that her disability and her age were factors in the Health Care provider's decision to terminate her employment following a medical leave, in September 2009.

Schwab, who was 73 when she filed her charge, had worked as an RN for Health East, and became an employee of Health Inventures when it purchased Health East, in part, in 2007. During her total tenure of 37 years, she had received good performance reviews, had received no formal performance warnings, and had rarely missed a day of work.

The Department's investigation found that following a medical leave, Health Inventures refused to allow Schwab to return to work, even though it knew her doctor had cleared her to do so. Although Schwab repeatedly tried to communicate with her employer about returning to work, Health Inventures was uncooperative in replying, the Department found.

After the Department found that disability and age were factors in Schwab's termination, Health Inventures appealed the Department's determination. The Department investigated further and affirmed its conclusion that Health Inventures had engaged in age and disability discrimination in its treatment of Schwab.

In addition to paying $70,000 to Bernice Schwab, Health Inventures, LLC, has agreed to provide training to its managers regarding the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The settlement does not constitute and admission of wrongdoing, and Health Inventures denies that it discriminated against Schwab.

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Contact: Jeff Holman at 651.539.1090 or Jeff.holman@state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Communications Department Freeman Building, 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55155

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