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Disabled woman sues Illinois hotel over firing

Published: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 12:02 a.m. CDT

ROCKFORD – A northern Illinois woman is accusing a hotel of firing her after she said she needed to use an oxygen tank for her respiratory illnesses at work.

The disability rights group Equip For Equality filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court in Rockford on behalf of Donna Colvin of Oregon, Ill.

The lawsuit said Colvin’s employers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law in their treatment of her.

According to the lawsuit, Colvin was a front desk clerk at Oregon’s Paddle Wheel Inn, between 2007 and 2011. Colvin suffers from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sleep apnea.

In November 2011, Colvin spent a night in the hospital for respiratory problems. She said doctors told her to begin using oxygen for 24 hours a day.

Colvin said she was told not to work at the front desk and later dismissed from her position after she told her boss about the doctor’s orders.

A termination letter states that Colvin was fired “for not working her scheduled shifts” and because she “was unable to physically do what was required of her during her shift.”

The lawsuit also states that during her four years of employment at the hotel, Colvin regularly worked overtime without being paid for it.

Colvin is seeking compensation for unpaid overtime, expenses and damages.

The Paddle Wheel Inn’s owners did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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