Steel and Iron Powder Company Denied Applicant a Job Because It Regarded Him as Disabled, Federal Agency Charged
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Hoeganaes Corporation will pay $47,500 and furnish other significant equitable relief to resolve a lawsuit for disability discrimination filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to 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 he took prescription drugs for an anxiety disorder and high blood pressure, after a pre-employment physical examination. 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 Hoeganaes did not accept this statement, but instead rescinded the job offer without ever allowing the applicant to undergo a physical examination. EEOC said Hoeganaes regarded the applicant as a disabled individual incapable of doing the job.
This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 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.
Besides the monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the suit, entered by Senior Judge William J. Haynes, requires Hoeganaes to maintain a written policy prohibiting future disability discrimination in the workplace and will conduct training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for its employees. The decree also requires Hoeganaes to post a notice in its facility containing the terms of this settlement.
"Employers have a duty under the law to ensure their work environment is free of discrimination," said Faye Williams, regional attorney of EEOC's Memphis District Office. "A disability or perceived disability should never prevent an employee from the work force. We commend Hoeganaes for rectifying this matter and ensuring such conduct does not recur."
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 roughly 175 people at the Gallatin, Tenn. facility.
The Memphis District Office of EEOC oversees Tennessee, Arkansas, and parts of Northern Mississippi.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on the website at www.eeoc.gov.