EEOC Sues Oilfield Services Company for Denying Job to Diabetic Deemed “Fragile”

An employer can’t deny employment to an applicant based on a generalization that his medical condition makes him unsuitable for the job. Instead, the Americans With Disabilities Act mandates a fact-intensive assessment to determine if the applicant is qualified for the work.

Because it allegedly didn’t make that assessment, but instead relied on a generalization, Oilfield Instrumentation USA Inc. is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for violating the ADA.

The EEOC is accusing the company, which services oilfields, of violating the rights of an applicant with Type I insulin-dependent diabetes by rescinding a job offer to him on the basis that his condition made him “fragile” and not employable in the job.

This even after the doctor to whom the company sent the applicant for a physical examined him and  determined that he was in “good physical shape” and that his diabetes was “well-controlled.”

And after the applicant assured the doctor that he was on an insulin pump, that he had two years of previous experience working offshore as a diabetic, without incident, and that he took necessary precautions to ensure his safety.

According to the EEOC, Oilfield Instrumentation did not base its decision to withdraw the job offer on the type of fact-intensive assessment mandated by the ADA. Rather, the company simply revoked the offer on the basis of a sweeping determination that Type I insulin-dependent diabetics could not work offshore, regardless of whether the particular diabetic employee could perform the essential functions of his job.

Read more about the lawsuit here.

And here’s a primer from the EEOC on the do’s and dont’s of disability discrimination.


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