Court Ruling in Yale Hospital's Late Career Practitioner Policy May Have Far-Reaching Impact
- Yale New Haven Hospital's Late Career Practitioner Policy requires medical practitioners age 70 or older to take additional exams to maintain or renew staff privileges.
- EEOC filed suit against the Yale hospital alleging violations of the ADA and ADEA based on the policy.
- The court's decision in this case will likely impact other medical institutions nationwide with similar protocols.
On Feb. 11, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Yale New Haven Hospital Inc., the teaching hospital of the Yale School of Medicine, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.).
The lawsuit1 alleges that Yale New Haven Hospital's 4-year-old Late Career Practitioner Policy discriminates against medical practitioners age 70 or older by requiring them to "take both an ophthalmologic and a neuropsychological medical examination"2 before staff privileges are renewed or maintained. The complaint claims that the policy has been applied to 145 individuals as of April 2019, all of whom are 70 or older, and at least seven were listed as "failed."3 Medical practitioners younger than 70 are not required to submit to the eye and neuropsychological exams.
In its complaint, the EEOC asserts that Yale New Haven Hospital's policy violates the ADEA by singling out employees because of their age, and unlawfully discriminates against and deprives doctors 70 or older of equal employment opportunities.4 In particular, the EEOC alleges the policy violates the portion of the ADA stating that "an employer shall not require a medical examination and shall not make inquiries as to whether such employee is an individual with a disability or as to the nature or severity of the disability, unless such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity."5
The EEOC seeks relief that includes, among other things, a permanent injunction preventing Yale New Haven Hospital from carrying out the policy or other policies that "discriminate on the basis of age, "as well as back wages and liquidated damages to those negatively affected by the Policy."6
As of the date of this article, Yale New Haven Hospital had not yet filed an appearance or a response to the EEOC's Complaint. The Court's ruling on this suit may have ramifications for other hospitals around the country with similar policies.
Notes1 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Yale New Haven Hospital, Inc., Case No. 3:20-cv-00187-VAB; United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, pending before Judge Victor A. Bolden.