Posts Tagged ‘failure to make a reasonable accommodation’

Employer Accused of Misusing Medical Info in Hiring Process Agrees to Settle ADA Lawsuit

“Handle information on employees’ medical conditions with care.”

Those words should be etched on the walls of every HR department in the company. Otherwise, you’re apt to be slapped with an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit, forcing you either to litigate your violation of the law or settle for a hefty sum.

Chemtrusion, Inc., a Houston-based manufacturing services company, will pay $145,000 and provide other significant relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced on July 21.

The EEOC filed suit against Chemtrusion in October 2016, claiming that since 2012, the company refused to hire or provide reasonable accommodations to a class of job applicants at the company’s Jeffersonville, Ind., facility because of medical information it obtained during pre-employ­ment medical examinations. The company failed to conduct any individual­ized assessment of whether they could perform essential job functions, the EEOC charged.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division (EEOC v. Chemtrusion, Inc., Case No. 4:16-cv-00180) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The EEOC and Chemtrusion voluntarily negotiated the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, without any admission of wrongdoing or liability by Chemtrusion.

In addition to monetary relief, the decree requires that Chemtrusion: (1) instruct its hiring personnel and medical providers not to conduct medical inquiries until after a condit­ional offer is made; (2) conduct individualized analysis before withdrawing job offers; (3) train its hiring personnel on what the ADA requires with respect to medical examinations and hiring; (4) submit deci­sions to rescind job offers to legal counsel for review; and (5) track rescinded offers. The EEOC will monitor compli­ance with the two-year decree.

“All the corrective measures required by the consent decree will ensure that Chemtrusion will comply with federal disability discrimination law in filling vacancies in the future,” said Kenneth L. Bird, regional attorney for EEOC’s Indianapolis District. “It will also provide a strong reminder to other employers that applicants are entitled to an individualized assessment of whether they can do a job, with or without reasonable accommodation, before a company may rescind a job offer after a medical examination.”

Eliminating barriers to recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against people with disabilities or racial, ethnic, and religious groups, older workers, and women, is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

Taken to the Cleaners: Company Owes $16K in Settlement Over Firing of Worker With Scoliosis

How dumb is this. An employer fires a worker because his disability keeps from doing his job the way the employer wants it done, but there’s another way he could do the job if only the employer would accommodate him.

So dumb that a Michigan company that provides cleaning services decided it was better not to go to court over this one.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed this Americans With Disabilities Act on behalf of Gregory Brown against his former employer,New Image Building Services, Inc., based in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, in September of 2013, Brown, who had scoliosis, was hired as a cleaner and assigned to trash maintenance at a Dearborn, Mich., client location. On July 23, 2014, his supervisor informed him that he would be assigned to vacuum duty, which would have required him to wear a vacuum back pack. In response, Brown told the supervisor that he could not do vacuum duty because of his scoliosis.

Rather than allow Brown to submit a doctor’s note, the supervisor issued a disciplinary write-up against Brown for refusing to perform an assigned task, and removed him from the worksite by confiscating his badge, the EEOC said. Brown was not allowed to return to the worksite; nor was he reassigned to another location.

New Image agreed to settle the lawsuit for $16,000 in back pay to Brown, the EEOC announced last Friday.

In addition to providing for the award of monetary relief to Brown, prohibits any similar discrimination in the future and requires New Image to distribute its policies on equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination to all its employees. New Image must also train its supervisors and human resources representatives on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations under the ADA