Equipment Supplier Denied Job to Insulin-Dependent Applicant on Belief That Diabetics Are Too 'Fragile' to Work Offshore, Federal Agency Charged
NEW ORLEANS -- Aldonsa, Inc., dba Oilfield Instrumentation, USA, Inc., a Broussard, La.-based offshore equipment supplier, has agreed to pay $25,000 in lost wages and damages and provide other significant relief to settle a disability lawsuit filed last year by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, EEOC charged Aldonsa, Inc., with withdrawing a job offer to an applicant because of his diabetes. Carl J. Devalcourt, II, a Type I insulin-dependent diabetic, applied for a service technician position at Oilfield Instrumentation USA. He was interviewed and offered a position. Devalcourt was then sent to the Acadian Health Services Clinic in Lafayette, La., for a physical examination. After being examined, the doctor that determined Devalcourt was in "good physical shape" and his diabetes was "well-controlled." However, the job offer was rescinded based on the doctor's determination that Devalcourt's Type I diabetes made him too "fragile" to work offshore.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to conduct individualized assessments of employees' ability to perform the essential functions of the position with or without an accommodation.
The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 6:16-cv-01089-RFD-PJH) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
On September 25, 2017, the court signed and entered a consent decree settling the suit agreed to by all the parties. In addition to the monetary award for Devalcourt, the decree provides for significant non-monetary relief, including an injunction prohibiting any future discrimination. Aldonsa has further agreed to develop an effective policy to protect applicants from a rescission of a job offer without a fact intensive individualized assessment, including consultation with the applicant, and, if need be, his treating physicians. Further, Aldonsa will conduct training about the ADA's prohibitions against disability discrimination. Aldonsa will report to the EEOC on its compliance with the consent judgment and post an "EEO Is the Law" poster for employees and/or applicants to be aware of their rights.
"Companies must make an individualized assessment regarding the ability of an applicant to perform the essential functions of the job with or without the need for an accommodation," said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC's New Orleans and Houston offices.
Alexandra Navarre-Davis, senior trial attorney for the agency's New Orleans Field Office, said, "No one should be denied a job based on conjecture about his abilities to perform certain functions due to biases about his medical condition."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.