Company Fired Employee Because of Bipolar Disorder, Federal Agency Charged
ATLANTA - Dayton Superior Corporation, a nationwide provider of concrete and masonry construction products, violated federal law by firing an employee because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Case Number 2:12-cv-00227-WCO).
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee worked for Dayton Superior as a quality control lab technician in its Braselton, Ga., facility. One day in August 2011, while at work, she suffered an adverse reaction to medication that had been prescribed by her doctor for her bipolar disorder. After the employer required her to submit to a drug test, the only substances found in her system were the medications prescribed to treat her disability. Nevertheless, the employee, who had been suspended pending the outcome of the drug test, was terminated immediately after the test results were revealed.
Employment discrimination based on a disability is prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. As part of the suit, the EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief prohibiting the company from engaging in any further employment practices that discriminate on the basis of disability.
"When employers administer drug tests, they must be mindful that the use of legitimate medications to treat recognized disabilities must not be held against employees or job candidates," said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert K. Dawkins.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.