$80,000 Settlement in Disability Discrimination Case Against Employment Agency

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

JES Personnel  Consultants, Inc., doing business as Genie Temporary Service, will pay $80,000  to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The EEOC had charged that JES unlawfully  refused to allow an employee to return to work because of his epilepsy.  Genie is a temporary service agency with an  office in LaSalle, Ill., that supplies employees to various  client employers. 

Based upon an administrative  investigation managed by EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe, JES placed  the employee with Clover Technologies Group, LLC, where he unpacked and sorted  ink cartridges.  After he had a brief  epileptic seizure on his first day of work, according to Rowe, Clover allowed  him to work the rest of the day, but asked him to provide a note from his  doctor authorizing him to return to work after that.  The EEOC said that the employee provided the  note to Genie the next day, and Genie neither advised him that the note was  inadequate nor forwarded the note to Clover, but the employee was not permitted  to return and was effectively terminated.

Disability discrimination violates  the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).   The EEOC filed suit on July 28, 2011 in U.S. District Court for the  Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division after first attempting to reach  a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  After the suit was filed, the employee  intervened in the case.  (EEOC v. JES Personnel Consultants, Inc.,  d/b/a Genie Temporary Service, N.D. Ill. No. 11 C 5117).

The consent  decree settling the suit, entered by Magistrate Judge Schenkier on Aug. 9, requires  JES to pay $80,000 to the worker and his attorney.  

JES  recently advised the court that it was going out of business. As a result, the decree  provides that if JES, or its president and owner, reestablishes an employment  agency, then the re­established business shall adopt a policy to comply with  the ADA.  That policy, at a minimum, will  (1)  establish a procedure for a disabled  employee to ask for an accommodation; (2) provide that if an employee seeks to  return to work from a medical leave, JES may only require a medical exam if it  is job-related and consistent with business necessity; and (3) provide that if  JES receives a doctor’s authorization for a disabled employee to return to work  and decides that the authorization is not adequate, it will advise the employee  of the reasons for its decision.

EEOC  Supervisory Attorney Gregory Gochanour said, “Employment agencies need to  promptly advise their employees if they conclude that a medical authorization  does not present sufficient evidence that the employee is qualified to work.  That would then allow the employee to seek  further information from his or her doctor.”

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