Company settles ADA suit over alleged firing of employee who took legally prescribed medication
Posted February 22, 2012
A Minnesota manufacturer will pay $40,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced February 15. The EEOC’s consent decree resolving the case was approved February 14 by a U.S. district court judge.
In its lawsuit, filed in 2009, the EEOC charged that the employer fired a long-time employee because he was taking a low-dosage, prescribed narcotic medication for back pain. The EEOC said that such action was taken because the employer perceived the man as being disabled solely because he was taking the medication, and failed to consider his ability to perform his job.
The EEOC also said that the company required all employees to report whether they were taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication. The EEOC said that this policy is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) since it is not related to the ability of employees to do their jobs and is, therefore, unlawful because employees complying with the policy were likely to unwillingly disclose information about any disabilities or impairments they may have.
The company will be required to submit to ongoing training, reporting, and monitoring by the EEOC. In addition to paying the $40,000 to the terminated employee, the employer must also drop its policy of requiring employees to report all medication to their supervisors.
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