Law Office of David Miklas, P.A.

Labor & Employment law - Employers only

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced a situation where an employer rescinded employment offers when applicants' post-offer medical examinations indicated that they had a record of a disability or had current medical restrictions. The EEOC also announced that the employer required employees be completely free of medical restrictions to work.

As a result of these claims, the EEOC filed a lawsuit on the applicant and employee’s behalf, claiming that the employer’s had discriminated against applicants and employees on the basis of: 1) their disability, 2) having a record of a disability, or 3) being perceived as having one.  The EEOC also claimed that the employer denied employees accommodations for their disabilities, and refused to hire, or fired, applicants and employees who had disabilities or were regarded as such.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  After the EEOC initially found “cause” to believe that discrimination occurred, it first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement with the employer through its conciliation process. When that failed, the EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court. (EEOC v. Magnolia Health Corporation, et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-01222-DAD-EPG).

 The EEOC reached a settlement with the employer and obtained Court approval of a consent decree reflecting the parties’ agreement. A consent decree is essentially a settlement agreement subject to continued judicial policing.

In this case, the employer agreed to pay applicants and employees $325,000.00, reinstate qualified employees who had been terminated.  The consent decree also sets forth a number of forward-looking injunctive measures. For example, the employer agreed to:

1) retain a third-party equal employment opportunity monitor to ensure compliance with the decree and the ADA;

2) assign an internal ADA coordinator to review and process requests for accommodation, changes in the terms and conditions of employment, and complaints regarding disability discrimination and retaliation;

3) revise the employer’s policies and procedures regarding disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation, and retaliation; and

4) provide training on employer obligations and employee rights under the ADA.

The EEOC will also closely monitor the employer’s compliance with these obligations for a two year period.

In announcing this settlement, EEOC lawyers stated,

  • “[t]he EEOC continues to see employers failing to properly engage in the interactive process or implementing policies that undermine the purpose of the ADA… We encourage employers to reexamine their leave and attendance policies to ensure compliance with the ADA,” and

  • “This resolution should send a clear message to employers that they must engage in the interactive process and attempt to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees; failing to do so violates federal law.”

Florida employers are reminded that disability discrimination is a hot topic.  If you need any assistance in relation to terminating, disciplining, or not hiring/promoting a disabled individual, please email or call the Law Office of David Miklas, P.A. at 1-772-465-5111 before you take that action to make sure that it is legal.

You can read more of our employment law articles on our legal updates page.

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Can a Florida business revoke a job offer if it learns of the applicant’s prior medical conditions?