Employer Settles ADA Lawsuit Resulting From Firing of Employee Who Was Put on Medical Hold

Employers can’t outsource to third parties their legal obligation to determine whether an employee with a disability is capable of doing the job he or she was hired for.

That’s the gist of an announced settlement in an American With Disabilities Act lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Muskegon Family Care, a Michigan company.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Avis Lane worked for Muskegon Family Care as an outreach-enrollment coordinator. Before she began work, the company required that she submit to a post-offer, pre-employment physical. The medical specialist who conducted that physical recommended that Lane be put on a medical hold due to medications she was taking.

Notwithstanding the recommended medical hold, the company allowed Lane to work for over a month. Eventually, Muskegon Family Care fired her based on the recom­mended medical hold, the EEOC said.

The court granted the EEOC partial summary judgment, finding “this case presents a peculiar fact pattern that represents a textbook case for unlawful discrimination under the regarded-as-disabled prong of the ADA.”

Following that ruling, the employer chose to settle, agreeing to pay $21,500 and institute other relief to conclude the lawsuit.

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