Many workers are probably aware that they cannot be discriminated against in the workplace because of their disability. They may not be aware however that those protections extend to potential employers. In other words, a disabled person cannot be discriminated on the basis of his or her disability during the hiring process either.
When this happens a potential employee can take legal action against the employer that did not hire him or her. A federal disability discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., illustrates how such a case may turn out.
A woman instituted this course of action when she was not provided an accommodation for a drug test the passage of which her employment was contingent upon. Though as a result of end-stage renal disease, she was unable to provide a urine sample, the testing facility indicated that alternate tests were available. When she provided this information to the assistant store manager, management declined to order that the alternative test be given. As a result, the woman failed to meet the 24 hour requirement associated with the test and her employment record was closed.
Alleging that this action violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit. The case was recently resolved and Wal-Mart was ordered to provide $72,500 to the woman. In addition, the applicant drug screen form will be revised to indicate alternate testing methods are available to those who cannot take the regular test. The store is also enjoined from taking any future adverse employment actions on the basis of disability and failing to provide reasonable accommodations.
The world of employment law can be confusing to someone who does not work in it. As a result, an employment law attorney is usually a good place to start in situations such as these.
Source: The National Law Review, “Wal-Mart Stores East Will Pay $72,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit,” Oct. 24, 2014