EEOC: Baseless Fear Motivated Physicians’ Practice to Boot Doctor Taking Prescribed Meds

Certainly a medical practice needs to be vigilant of any staff members who are taking prescribed medications, but that doesn’t give them license to ignore the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Two physician groups in Atlanta, Georgia, are charged by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with doing exactly that.

In an ADA lawsuit filed today, the EEOC alleges that Georgia Hospitalists Group, LLC and ApolloMD Business Services, LLC, violated the ADA by firing a doctor because he was taking legally prescribed narcotic medications.

The suit alleges that in 2013, Dr. Alunda Hunt provided ApolloMD with a note from his doctor indicating that he was being treated for a medical condition with narcotic pain medications. According to the doctor’s note, Dr. Hunt was compliant with his treatment and was not experiencing any negative side effects.

However, within days of providing the note to ApolloMD, Dr. Hunt was removed from the work schedule and his contract was terminated. EEOC charged that Dr. Hunt was unlawfully fired because of an actual disability and because he was perceived to be disabled due to his use of legally prescribed narcotic medications.

“Employers have an obligation to conduct individualized assessments when they have a concern about an employee’s ability to safely perform his or her job duties,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable when they summarily dismiss employees based on unsubstantiated fears about a perceived disability.”

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