Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) September 19, 2017 – The Supreme Court of New Jersey affirmed an appellate court’s renewal of a nurse’s discrimination lawsuit against Saint Clare’s Health System. In a unanimous decision, the court upheld an appellate panel’s ruling reversing the dismissal of a case by a lower court. Plaintiff, Maryanne Grande, filed a lawsuit against Saint Clare’s. The court held that Grande should be permitted to prove she was terminated in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), which prohibits discrimination in employment because of a worker’s disability.
Grande was initially hired by Saint Clare’s in 2000. She suffered shoulder injuries at work between March 2007and 2008 that required her to undergo two surgeries and compelled her to lose many months of work. Then, in February 2010, she suffered a cervical spine injury during her attempt to catch a patient who was falling. As a result, she had to have surgery. Her recovery and rehabilitation lasted several months.
South Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys Petrillo & Goldberg state that, “Due to the complexity of the workers’ compensation process, an injured party will benefit greatly from consulting with an attorney who can hold the employer liable for engaging in disability discrimination.”
In July 2010, Grande’s physician permitted her to return to work, and perform all her duties. However, Saint Clare’s evaluation report indicated that she could only perform specific duties, including heavy lifting. She was subsequently fired by Saint Clare’s on the basis that such restrictions impeded her ability to carry out necessary duties. She then filed a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination.
The court found that it could not determine which responsibilities were necessary to Grande’s role. Moreover, Justice Solomon mentioned a disagreement as to whether the report confirms that Grande is unable to carry out her duties, and questioned whether her continued employment would have presented a danger to herself or her patients.
Saint Clare’s was required to show that no reasonable accommodations could have been made before firing Grande. The court upheld the decision of the appellate court to revive Ms. Grande’s discrimination suit.
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