EEOC: Employers Must Individually Assess Prospective Employees’ Disability Status
Cessna recently paid six figures to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that Cessna maintained a company-wide, illegal hiring practice.
The practice in question: Cessna disqualified from consideration prospective employees who had a history of temporary disability or workers’ compensation restrictions. In the case at issue, a Cessna sub withdrew job offers to two prospective hires based on such considerations, even though they presented the company with medical documentation clearing them to perform the duties of the jobs under consideration. The EEOC sued on the prospective hires’ behalf, alleging that Cessna’s hiring practice violated the ADA’s mandate to individually assess an employee’s capability to perform a job’s essential functions.
“Workers’ compensation guidelines are not a proxy for the ability of an employee or conditional employee to perform the essential functions of the job,” John C. Hendrickson, regional attorney of EEOC’s Chicago District Office, said. “This settlement should remind employers that the ADA requires an individualized assessment of a candidate’s ability to do the job.”
As part of the settlement, Cessna also agreed to implement a new ADA policy and to training its human resources and health services employees on disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation and retaliation under ADA.