$340,000 Settlement Against Health Care System in ADA Case

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Question:  Do you think it would have helped this company to have the training before it was forced upon them by the EEOC?

John Muir Health, a health care system with hospitals and other medical facilities throughout Contra Costa County, agreed to pay $340,000 to eight health care workers and to implement preventative measures to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

The settlement resolves the EEOC’s suit, which had charged that John Muir withdrew job offers to seven nurses and one lab technician based on workplace restrictions imposed by independent doctors contracted by John Muir to conduct pre-employment health screenings. John Muir assumed that the eight workers had life-threatening latex allergies and could not safely work in a hospital setting. Subsequently, however, some of the workers were independently evaluated by board-certified allergists, who concluded that they did not have an allergy or sensitivity that would preclude them from working safely in hospital settings. All eventually continued to work in the health care profession, the EEOC said.

Pursuant to the consent decree executed by Judge Phyllis Hamilton today, John Muir will also revise its policies to ensure safeguards against potential latex-related disability discrimination. For example, employment candidates determined to have latex sensitivities will be evaluated by an allergist to determine what work restrictions, if any, may be appropriate. The company also will provide staff training on evaluating whether workers with latex sensitivity can be accommodated. In addition, John Muir agreed to report to the EEOC concerning any complaints of disability discrimination and/or retaliation as well as any job restrictions placed upon applicants and employees with latex allergies.

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