One More Medical Provider Settles ADA Lawsuit

Well, another healthcare provider has settled an ADA suit filed by the EEOC.  Don’t medical and healthcare folks know by now that protecting people with disabilities in hiring and employment is one of the six priorities set forth by the EEOC in its Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”)?

And we know how the EEOC loves to target health care providers for violations of the ADA.

Seems that a surgical center in San Diego made a job offer to an applicant contingent upon her passing a post-offer medical examination, but rescinded the offer after the exam because it perceived her to suffer from a disability – in this case a minor ankle ailment.  The EEOC contended that the ankle problem would not have affected her job performance – and, indeed, she was later hired at another medical facility for the same position.

Foot, Pedicure, Body, Part, Human, Toes

Recall:  Under the Americans With Disabilities Act you cannot discriminate against an individual based upon a “perceived” disability!  Myths or stereotypes of disabilities cannot be the basis of employment decisions.

Case settled for $90,000.

Takeaway:  A “consent decree,” such as this one, usually means not merely paying a settlement, but agreeing to many other remedial procedures which the EEOC will insist upon.  This can, in many cases, be a lot more onerous or burdensome than mere money; and the EEOC’s oversight can last a long time.

Better to prevent or avoid problems in the first place!!

In this case, the surgical center agreed to:

  1. retain an external equal employment monitor to review it’s policies and practices and assist Sharp with ADA compliance;
  2. review and revise disability accommodation policies and practices to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended;
  3. provide annual disability discrimination training for employees, supervisors, and managers who are involved in the accommodation process;
  4. post an employee notice; and
  5. undertake record keeping and reporting to EEOC.

As one EEOC attorney remarked:  “Prospective employees need to be evaluated based on their actual abilities to perform the essential functions of the job sought, not on their past medical history and stereotyping.”


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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]