Cessna Settles ADA Suit on Use of Workers’ Comp Guidelines to Make Hiring Decisions

“Workers’ compensation guidelines are not a proxy for the ability of an employee or conditional employee to perform the essential functions of the job,” said the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in announcing the settlement today of an Americans With Disabilities Lawsuit against Cessna Aircraft Company.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Cessna relied on workers’ compensation standards to make decisions on whether to hire conditional employees, rather than make an individual assessment of each employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job.

The violations were found in Milwaukee and Wichita based on what appeared to be a company-wide policy, the EEOC said. In one case, Cessna required a conditional employee to meet national maximum medical improvement standards to be eligible to work, despite the employee providing medical documentation that he could work without restriction. Cessna rescinded the job offer of this employee on the basis that he would not reach maximum medical improvement within a specified time period.

In another case, EEOC said, Cessna withdrew its job offer from an employee with a history of workers’ compensation restrictions without regard for his subsequent improvement and ability to provide medical documentation of his ability to work without restriction.

EEOC said that Cessna agreed to pay $167,500 to settle the lawsuit.

The settlement also requires that a “Cessna executive-level employee will personally address the staff before every training session with a message that Cessna takes its obligation under all equal employment opportunity laws seriously and will state Cessna’s non-retaliation policy.” OUCH!

Here’s today’s announcement by the EEOC of the settlement.


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