Baywood Home Care, one of the state's largest providers of home health care for senior citizens, must pay $30,000 to a home health aide to resolve allegations that she was illegally fired because of a physical disability, in a consent decree approved Wednesday.

Laurie J. Goodnough was allegedly fired in 2011 after two supervisors observed her walking with a cane. The two had contacted Baywood's owner, Dorothy Muffett, and complained about Goodnough, who has difficulty walking and bending because she suffers from fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a federal lawsuit.

The EEOC also alleged that St. Louis Park-based Baywood made illegal inquiries of job applicants to determine whether they had disabilities and the severity of their disabilities. Since at least 2007, Baywood's job application form has asked applicants whether they had any physical limitations that might interfere with their ability to work as a home health aide, the EEOC alleged.

While Baywood has denied the allegations in court documents, the company entered into a consent decree and agreed to pay $30,000 to Goodnough. It will also train its management staff and employees on the Americans With Disabilities Act, a 1990 law that requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities. Baywood has also agreed to revise all application forms to eliminate questions about disabilities, among other measures.

"The consent decree is about a good deal more than the $30,000 in compensation," said Tina Burnside, the EEOC attorney in Minneapolis who litigated the case. "It's also about … non-monetary relief to eradicate disability-based discrimination at Baywood Home Care."

Baywood referred questions to an attorney, who did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

Founded in 2000 by Muffett, a former vice president at General Mills, Baywood is among Minnesota's 30 largest state-licensed home care agencies. It generated $5.1 million in revenue last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. In a report last year, the company said it had 150 employees and served customers in the Twin Cities area and communities in south-central and southwestern Minnesota.

Chris Serres • 612-673-4308

Twitter: @chrisserres