Construction Company Refused to Hire Equipment Operator With Diabetes, Federal Agency Charged
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – A large Pennsylvania construction company which operates 17 quarries and eight asphalt production facilities across Pennsylvania and southern New York will pay $200,000 and provide significant remedial relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc., made a conditional offer of employment as an equipment operator to Christopher Woomer at its facility in State College, Pa. Woomer, of Tyrone, Pa., worked for several years as a backhoe operator and demonstrated his ability to operate the backhoe during the job interview. When Woomer went for a post-offer company physical, the company learned he has insulin-dependent diabetes. The EEOC charged that Hawbaker unlawfully rescinded the job offer once it learned about Woomer’s diabetes.
It is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to refuse to hire a qualified individual based on his disability or perception thereof. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action Number 4:09-CV-1261) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $200,000 in monetary relief to Woomer, the four-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Hawbaker from engaging in further disability discrimination or retaliation for complaining about it. The company is required to modify its post-offer medical examination policies to engage in an interactive process with applicants and their doctors to assess fitness for duty, provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities and ensure that individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes are not automatically excluded from employment as equipment operators. All employees in Hawbaker’s human resources department and all employees with job duties related to hiring, the reasonable-accommodation process, post-offer and employee medical examinations and medical leave policies will be required to attend at least one day of mandatory training on the ADA. Hawbaker must also report to the EEOC about the company’s response to any complaints of alleged disability-based discrimination in hiring and post a remedial notice.
“We are pleased that Hawbaker worked with the EEOC to reach a resolution that not only provides fair compensation to Mr. Woomer, but also includes comprehensive remedial relief, training and the implementation of policies intended to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in hiring and employment,” said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
Further information about Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. is available at its web site, www.goh-inc.com.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.