SANTA FE – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of a deaf woman that alleges disability discrimination by Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe.
The lawsuit claims that Asheley Coriz, who was hired in February 2018 as a histology technician to process pathology specimens at the hospital’s laboratory, was terminated two months later after complaining about harassment by her supervisor.
The suit also states that the hospital failed to accommodate her appeal to install video relay service equipment — a specialized video-type telephone — that Coriz would provide at no cost to the hospital and other requests she made “so she could do her job the way CSV wanted it done.”
A hospital spokesman provided the Journal with a statement that says Christus St. Vincent “adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act and is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.”
The statement says that the hospital takes all claims of discrimination seriously. “While we cannot comment directly on any specific details of the complaint, we are fully committed to being an equal opportunity employer,” it says.
Mary Jo O’Neill, attorney for the EEOC’s regional office in Phoenix, said in a phone interview that the lawsuit was filed after a conciliation agreement acceptable to the EEOC could not be reached.
She said that it’s not common, but also not unusual, for the agency to file lawsuits on behalf of employees. “When we see a case like this where we think there was egregious violations of antidiscrimination laws, we sue in the public interest,” she said.