Posts Tagged ‘ADA’

Security Company Settles Charges It Made Applicants Reveal Disabilities, Medical History

Applicants for jobs with security giant Guardsmark won’t any longer have to answer questions about whether they have a disability or reveal their family medical history.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company, one of the largest security companies in North America, put more than 1,100 applicants in 2011 and 2012 in that uncomfortable and illegal position.

The EEOC announced on Thursday that Guardsmark had settled disability and genetic information discrimination charges to the tune of $329,640 in monetary relief.

As a reminder, here’s the do’s and dont’s on these types of questions.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act forbids discrimination on the basis of  genetic information when it comes to any aspect of employment, including  hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe  benefits, or any other term or condition of employment. It is unlawful for an employer to ask,  acquire or maintain such information.

Genetic  information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the  genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about  the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual’s family members  (i.e. family medical history).

Under the  Americans With Disabilities Act, an employer may not ask disability-related questions and may not conduct  medical examinations until after it makes a conditional job offer to the  applicant. This helps ensure that an applicant’s possible hidden disability  (including a prior history of a disability) is not considered before the  employer evaluates an applicant’s non-medical qualifications. An employer may  not ask disability-related questions or require a medical examination pre-offer  even if it intends to look at the answers or results only at the post-offer stage.

Read more about the settlement here.


Applicants’ Rights Violated by Requirement to Fill Out Health History Form, EEOC Alleges in Suit

If you’re an employer, you’re playing with legal fire if you ask job applicants about their medical past–all the more so if you give them no choice but to reveal this information.

Yet another employer finds itself in the legal crosshairs of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allegedly for making job applicants disclose information about their health history.

The alleged scofflaw is Grisham Farm Products, Inc. of Mountain Grove, Mo., which the EEOC says violated federal law by requiring all job applicants to fill out a three-page health history before they would be considered for a job.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Phillip Sullivan, a retired law enforcement officer who sought employment with Grisham Farm Products, was told by the company that if he did not fully complete and submit a three-page health history form with his application, he would not be considered for any job.

The EEOC alleges that the use of the pre-employment form violated Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act because it requested information that could cause an applicant to identify himself or herself as a person with a disability. The suit further claims the form does not comply with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits employers from requesting or requiring genetic information, including medical histories, regarding applicants or their family members, except in limited circumstances allowed by statute.

“Job applicants cannot be required to provide employers with their medical history prior to receiving a job offer,” said James R. Neely, Jr., director of EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “Grisham Farm Products’ intrusive health history form is among the most egregious we have seen.”

Here’s today’s EEOC’s announcement of the lawsuit.

EEOC: Employer Violated ADA in Making Disabled Worker’s Return to Work Conditional

Employers need to let their workers with disabilities decide when it’s the right time to come back to work, and not impose overprotective rules as a condition of employment.

That’s the lesson from a recent Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a Michigan company.

The suit filed today charges that Neenah Paper, a manufacturer of various types of premium paper with a paper mill in Munsing, Mich., forbad an employee with a seizure disorder from returning to work without confirmation from his doctor that he no longer had the condition.

And also as  a condition of employment, the company forbade the worker from returning unless he took his medication at work under observation, either in the presence of the plant nurse or designated co-workers, the EEOC alleges.

The ADA doesn’t allow that, the EEOC charged.  “An employer cannot single out an employee who has a disability and impose an over-protective rule on that person as a condition of employment,” said EEOC Detroit Field Office Trial Attorney Omar Weaver. “Such actions represent the kind of differential treatment toward disabled individuals that the ADA was enacted to prohibit.”

Read more about the lawsuit.

Target Drops Pre-Employment Tests in $2.8M Settlement With EEOC Over Title VII, ADA Charge

Applicants for exempt-level professional jobs at Target Corp. can now expect to get a fair shake at those jobs without regard to their race or gender. Nor will they have to pass a pre-employment medical examination prior to an offer of employment.

That’s the result of a $2.8 million settlement announced Friday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of a charge filed by one of the commissioners against the Minneapolis headquartered retailer.

Three employment assessments formerly used by Target disproportionately screened out applicants for exempt-level professional positions based on race and sex.  The tests were not sufficiently job-related and consistent with business necessity, and thus violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, EEOC found.

In addition, EEOC found that one of the assessments Target formerly used in its hiring process also violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The EEOC determined that this particular assessment performed by psychologists on behalf of Target was a pre-employment medical examination.

That’s a violation of the ADA, which prohibits from subjecting applicants to medical examinations prior to an offer of employment.

Target discontinued use of those tests during the EEOC’s investigation.

This outcome ought to be cautionary tale to other employers that use or want to use pre-employment tests. Make sure they are job-related and consistent with business necessity under Title VII. And if they involve medical examinations, don’t impose them until after you have determined that the applicant is qualified and have offered him or her the job.

Read more about the settlement.


EEOC Recovers $40K for Spurned Applicant Allegedly Regarded as Disabled by Employer

A supplier of a fastfood chain is $40,000 poorer because it allegedly refused to hire a job applicant whom it “regarded as” disabled.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced settlement of this Americans With Disabilities Lawsuit today against McLane Foodservice Inc., a Texas company that is supplier for fastfood restaurant chains.

According to the lawsuit, the company violated the ADA by refusing to hire an applicant because it regarded him as disabled and because the applicant had a record of a disability, having had heatstroke and renal failure.

McLane is a large-scale supplier to fast-food restaurant chains. Headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, McLane has over 18 distribution centers nationwide.

Here’s EEOC’s announcement of the settlement.

And here is information from the commission’s webpage on prohibited discrimination under the ADA, including “regarded as” disabled discrimination. Scroll down to the definition of disability section.

EEOC Sues Wal Mart on Cancer Survivor’s Behalf

A Wal Mart store allegedly removed an employee’s chair that she used as an accommodation for her cancer–and now the retailer finds itself staring at an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it filed the ADA lawsuit in response to the actions of Wal Mart’s store in Hodgkins, Illinois. The store had reasonably accommodated employee Nancy Stack’s request that the company provide a chair in her work area in the fitting room and limit her scheduled work hours because treatment for bone cancer in her leg limited her ability to walk and stand, the EEOC said.

After complying with her scheduling accommodation for many months, the store revoked it for no reason, according to the EEOC. And the store did not ensure that a chair was in Stack’s work area, at one point telling her that she had to haul a chair from the furniture department every day, which was of course hard for her to do given her disability. Finally, the store transferred Stack from the fitting room to a greeter position, which did not comply with her restrictions on standing.

Adding insult to injury, a co-worker harassed Stack by calling her names like “cripple” and “chemo brain,” imitated her limp, and removed or hid the chair the employee needed in her work area. Stack complained repeatedly, but the store took no action to stop the co-worker’s harassment.

This double-whammy of disability bias and retaliation has landed the retailer in court.

Read more about the case.


Plasma Center Violated ADA By Firing HIV-Positive Worker, EEOC Alleges in New Suit

Some employers continue to trip over themselves when it comes to dealing with applicants and employees who are HIV-positive. According to a just-filed lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a plasma collection center in Tennessee violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by discharging an employee it believed was HIV-positive.

The suit alleges that Plasma Biological Services placed the employee on a deferred donor list after an initial screening for a plasma donation showed a viral marker for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). After the employee’s supervisor learned that he had been placed on the deferred donor list, the employee was immediately discharged. Subsequent tests showed the employee was actually negative for HIV, the EEOC said.

In addition, the EEOC charged, Plasma Biological Services maintained a policy of terminating any employee who tested positive for a viral marker. It also failed to maintain employee medical records separate from personnel files.

According to the EEOC, this is a case of discriminating against an individual because of a perceived disability.

Read more about the case here.