Some commentators would have it that employers can stay out of legal trouble if they just resolve not to discriminate. But the federal agency in charge of these matters, which must count as about as much of an expert as anyone, itself can’t seem to avoid getting sued. The complaint charges disability discrimination and retaliation. [WSJ Law Blog]
“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached a $49,500 settlement with a construction company and utility company for withdrawing a job offer to a heavy equipment operator with epilepsy.” [Judy Greenwald, Business Insurance, earlier] In other news: “Just under two weeks after suffering a seizure that led to two car accidents within minutes of each other, Commerce Secretary John Bryson has submitted his resignation.” [NPR]
Pay up, EEOC tells a cafe owner, for not taking on a hearing- and speech-impaired applicant for a cashier’s position [EEOC press release (Albuquerque's Savory Fare Bakery and Cafe agrees to pay $20,000 and offer other relief), h/t Roger Clegg; related on cases where concern about cross-intelligibility between employee and customers leads to charges of "accent discrimination"] (& Bader, CEI; Scott Greenfield)
More: Alexander Cohen at Atlas has the complaint and answer, along with further analysis.
Nassau County, N.Y., had let go 71-year-old veteran lifeguard Jay Lieberfarb after he failed a swim test. Charging that the county had not always dismissed younger guards who had failed the same test, the EEOC proceeded to negotiate a $65,000 back pay settlement, a three-year consent decree and other relief. [EEOC press release; h/t Roger Clegg] Earlier on superannuated lifeguards [Ocean City, N.J.] (& welcome Chris Fountain readers; he recommends this blog as a cure for low blood pressure)
File under intended and expected effects of Congressional action: the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 reversed various court decisions that had limited the number of claimants who could invoke the Americans with Disabilities Act. [Luke Rosiak, Washington Times] More here, etc.
… can we have a heart-to-heart talk about some of what’s wrong with your new guidelines restricting employers from asking about job applicants’ criminal records? [Robin Shea] More: Diane Katz/Heritage, Ted Frank, Federalist Society podcast with Maurice Emsellem, Dominique Ludvikson and Dean Reuter, Brian Wolfman/Public Citizen (favorable to rules). Amy Alkon rounds up several more links, regarding which it should be noted that the EEOC has traditionally conceded an employer’s right to consider an embezzler’s rap sheet when filling a bookkeeping job — but not necessarily an axe-murderer’s rap sheet, since that’s not demonstrably “job-relevant.” Don’t you feel reassured now?
In related news, Roger Clegg reports that the House has passed a provision blocking EEOC enforcement of the guidance, which is encouraging as a preliminary matter; the Senate, however, is very likely to take a different position, and the rider will have no effect if the Senate view prevails. [NRO]
Even if they’re operating heavy machinery, and even if the drugs are of the type that make users drowsy, twitchy or agitated. It’s all part of the ban on employee medical inquiries under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Eighth Circuit has backed up the agency’s position that questions do not become permissible until the employer has in hand objective evidence of impairment, the sort you can take to a judge. Evidence like, you know, there having been a serious accident. I explain at Cato at Liberty.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is said to be readying policy guidance aimed at curbing employers’ consideration of criminal and credit records in hiring. [WSJ editorial]
Requiring a high school diploma of applicants for a given job may improperly screen out those with learning disability, according to the federal agency. I’ve got more at Cato at Liberty. Update: more from EEOC; Hans Bader, CEI.
The EEOC’s press release is not entirely clear about the events giving rise to the dispute, but it appears that Georgia Power through its subcontractor requires that heavy equipment operators on a certain project be qualified to pass the federal Department of Transportation’s physical exam for truckers; that applicant Bryan Mimmovich cannot pass that exam because of his controlled epilepsy; and that the EEOC is now arguing that it is discriminatory for the employer to adopt the DOT physical requirements for the equipment operation job.