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Americans With Disabilities Act Produces Basis for Settlement of Claims

Americans With Disabilities Act Produces Basis for Settlement of Claims

Domina Law Group pc llo alerts employers and employees of three significant cases recently resolved by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employers need to be aware of these results; so do employees who require workplace accommodations.

Case #1: An Oregon potato and onion packager agreed to pay $80,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit in a settled of a suit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC court case charged that South Basin Packing fired a worker right after he informed the company of a diagnosis for a chronic medical condition. Termination due to a disability violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires employers to explore reasonable accommodations. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon after an investigation found the employee was "fully capable of doing his job," the agency stated. Under the terms of the settlement in late March, the company will pay $80,000 to the worker, draft new policies, and provide training about disability discrimination.

Case #2: John Muir Health, a California health care system with hospitals and other facilities, agreed in March to pay $340,000 to eight people and to implement preventative measures to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.
The EEOC sued John Muir charging that it withdrew job offers to seven nurses and one lab technician based on workplace restrictions. The restrictions were imposed by doctors contracted to conduct pre-employment health screenings. John Muir assumed the workers had life-threatening latex allergies and couldn't safely work in a hospital setting. Some, but not all of the workers were evaluated by allergists, who did not diagnose problems that would preclude them from working in a hospital. All eventually got jobs in health care.

Case #3: A Pennsylvania copper parts manufacturer must pay $85,000 and furnish remedial relief to settle a federal ADA lawsuit. The EEOC charged that Hussey Copper, Ltd. unlawfully refused to hire a job applicant. The EEOC's now-settled suit claims that the company offered Donald Teaford a job as a production laborer but later rescinded the offer based on his disability. The job offer had been conditioned on Teaford passing a physical examination. Thepost-job offer examination allowed the the company doctor to learn that Teaford was receiving methadone as part of a clinically supervised chemical dependency treatment program. The company "mistakenly" concluded Teaford was a safety risk due to his methadone treatment, according to the EEOC.

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