Healthcare Company Denied Applicant an Accommodation for Pre-Employment Drug Testing, Federal Agency Charged
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Xerox State Healthcare, LLC ("Xerox Healthcare"), a healthcare company that offers healthcare program administration services for programs such as long-term care and pharmacy benefits management, has agreed to pay $35,000 and provide substantial injunctive relief to settle a disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the company failed to grant an employee with a disability a reasonable accommodation which would have allowed her to complete the company's required pre-employment drug screening.
In its complaint, EEOC alleges that Victoria Dozier, who is diagnosed with end stage renal disease and receives hemodialysis treatment as a result, received a written employment offer from Xerox Healthcare in September 2014. The employment offer was contingent upon successful completion of a pre-employment drug screening. Although Dozier was willing to undergo drug screening, she informed both the company and the lab representative at the drug testing facility that her disability prevented her from providing a urine sample. The complaint alleges Dozier also informed both Xerox Healthcare and the lab representative that her dialysis center would perform a different kind of drug test in place of the urine testing. Xerox Healthcare denied the request and Dozier was not hired.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA") requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees, as well as qualified applicants with disabilities. EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Xerox State Healthcare, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-00427) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency's conciliation process.
In addition to providing monetary relief to Dozier, the company agreed to a two-year consent decree requiring it to notify employees and applicants that they are entitled to reasonable accommodations in connection with drug screening, if necessary. The decree also requires the company to annually train certain recruiters and recruiting managers on the requirements of the ADA, specifically, that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to individuals covered by the ADA, including applicants.
"The ADA's protections apply to a company's applicants just as they do to existing employees," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "When a company is aware that a qualified applicant needs a reasonable accommodation in order to complete an aspect of the hiring process, the company must grant that request unless it poses an undue hardship for the company."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.