Healthcare company sued by EEOC for disability discrimination

Company allegedly denied urine-based drug screening for applicant with renal failure

Posted September 21, 2015

A healthcare company that offers healthcare program administration services for programs such as long-term care and pharmacy benefits management, violated federal law when it failed to provide a disabled applicant with a reasonable accommodation which would have allowed her to complete the company's required pre-employment drug screening, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed September 17, 2015.

According to the EEOC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division, an applicant, who is diagnosed with end stage renal disease and receives hemodialysis treatment as a result, received a written employment offer from the healthcare company on September 2014. The employment offer was contingent upon successful completion of a pre-employment drug screening. Although the applicant was willing to undergo drug screening, she informed both the company and the lab representative at the drug testing facility, her disability prevented her from providing a urine sample. The complaint alleges the applicant also informed both the healthcare company and the lab representative her dialysis center would perform a drug test in place of the urine testing. The healthcare denied the request and the applicant was not hired.

The alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to provide qualified disabled employees, as well as applicants, with reasonable accommodations, including during the application process. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"A company's applicants are covered by the ADA just as employees are," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "When a company is aware that a qualified applicant needs a reasonable accommodation in order to complete an aspect of the hiring process, the company must grant that request unless it poses an undue hardship for the company."

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