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PRESS RELEASE
9-15-16

EEOC Sues Owners of Happy Jack’s Casino For Disability Discrimination

Federal Agency Says Owners Rejected Applicant Because She Took Prescription Drugs For Her Medical Condition

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - M.G. Oil Company, which operates Happy Jack's Casino in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant when her drug test showed that she was taking legal prescription drugs for her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed yesterday.

According to Julianne Bowman, EEOC's district director in Chicago, who managed EEOC's pre-suit administrative investigation, Kim Mullaney applied for and received an offer of employment for a position at Happy Jack's Casino. After taking a routine drug test before starting work, Mullaney was told that Happy Jack's Casino was withdrawing the job offer because the test had come back positive. Although Mullaney told Happy Jack's Casino that the test reflected prescription drugs that she took for her disability, and even though she told them that she would provide additional information if needed, Happy Jack's Casino refused to hire her.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, which can include refusing to hire someone for taking lawfully prescribed drugs for a disability.

EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, EEOC v. MG. Oil Company d/b/a Happy Jack's Casino, Civil Action No.4:16-cv-04131, was filed in U.S. District Court for South Dakota. The government's litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Laurie Vasichek and supervised by EEOC Associate Regional Attorney Jean P. Kamp.

"Employers cannot refuse to hire someone simply because she takes prescription drugs," said John Hendrickson, the regional attorney for EEOC's Chicago District Office. "Ms. Mullaney would have provided Happy Jack's with all the information that it needed to assure itself that the drugs were lawfully prescribed. There is nothing happy about Happy Jack's ignoring the information before its eyes. To the contrary, it is very, very sad."

EEOC's Minneapolis Area Office is part of the Chicago District, which is responsible for handling charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.