Employers are reminded that the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation is not limited to existing employees. Employers are also required to provide accommodations in order to give applicants an equal opportunity to apply for open positions. A large staffing company found this out the hard way when EEOC filed a lawsuit because the company unlawfully refused to accommodate an applicant with a disability who needed an accommodation during the hiring process and subsequently denied him employment because of his disability.
The applicant, who has end-stage renal disease, a condition in which his kidneys no longer function and he is not able to urinate, applied for a shift supervisor position at G2 Secure Staff’s facility at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh, N.C. He successfully completed all of the requirements for obtaining the position with the exception of a drug test. Due to the fact that he’s not able to urinate, he asked if he could take the drug test using a hair sample rather than a urinalysis as an accommodation for his disability. However, the company failed to provide him the opportunity to take the drug test by hair sample or any other means that would have enabled him to be hired into the position he sought. Consequently, he was denied the job.
This ADA violation will cost the company $30,000 and an agreement to revise its anti-discrimination policy to include, among other things, a procedure for requesting a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and an explanation of an employer’s obligation to engage in the interactive process when an employee makes a request for a reasonable accommodation. The settlement also requires the company to post a notice about the settlement and conduct training on its obligations under the ADA.
In this case, the employer could have easily made the requested accommodation and avoided this entire process. This case shows that the EEOC will vigorously prosecute cases where the employer refuses to provide a reasonable accommodation that would enable a person, who’s qualified to do the job, to be hired.
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.