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PRESS RELEASE
5-7-14

Hoeganaes Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Steel and Iron Powder Company Denied Applicant a Job Because It Regarded Him as Disabled, Federal Agency Charges 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Hoeganaes Corporation, an atomized steel and iron powder producer, unlawfully refused to hire an applicant because the company regarded him as disabled, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, Hoeganaes offered the applicant a maintenance mechanic position at its Gallatin, Tenn., location, but did not follow through with the offer once it learned of his medical conditions.  When the applicant began his pre-employment physical examination, Hoeganaes learned that he took prescription drugs for an anxiety disorder and for high blood pressure.  Hoeganaes immediately sent the applicant to his primary care physician (PCP) to obtain clearance.  The PCP stated that the applicant "should" be able to perform the job functions.  Hoeganaes did not accept this statement, but instead rescinded the job offer without ever allowing the applicant to undergo a physical examination.  The EEOC said Hoeganaes regarded the applicant as a disabled individual incapable of doing the job.

Discrimination against a person who is disabled or regarded as disabled violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Hoeganaes, Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-01114) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC is seeking  injunctive relief prohibiting Hoeganaes from discriminating against employees with disabilities, as well as lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages and other affirmative relief for the applicant.

"Employers cannot rescind a conditional job offer based on uninformed assumptions regarding an individual's ability to work," said District Director Katharine W. Kores of the EEOC's Memphis District Office.  "Once Hoeganaes learned of the applicant's medical conditions, it refused to hire him based on preconceived notions.  That violates federal anti-discrimination law, and the EEOC will continue to enforce it." 

According to company information, Hoeganaes Corporation is a world leader in the production of atomized steel and iron powders.  The company has facilities in North America, Asia, and Europe, with its corporate headquarters in New Jersey.  Hoeganaes operates four facilities in the United States and employs 175 people at the Gallatin facility.  

The EEOC's Memphis District Office oversees Tennessee, Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi.  

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on the website at www.eeoc.gov.