Office Manager Terminated for Failing to Disclose Medical Prescription, Federal Agency Charges
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Loflin Fabrication LLC, a North Carolina limited liability company, violated federal law when it made an improper medical inquiry and terminated an office manager for failing to provide the company with a copy of a prescription for a legally prescribed medication, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's complaint, Loflin Fabrication LLC hired Deborah Shrock as an office manager at its facility in Denton, N.C., around July 25, 2016. Pursuant to its "prescription policy," Loflin required all its employees, regardless of job duties, to give the company a copy of all medical prescriptions. Around January 2017, Shrock was prescribed a muscle relaxant to treat a spinal impairment. Between January and September 2017, Shrock took the prescribed medication at night as needed, and did not take the medication during the day. Shrock did not give Loflin a copy of her muscle relaxant prescription.
Around Sept. 21, 2017, Loflin required Shrock to undergo a random drug test. Prior to the drug test, Shrock notified the HR manager and shop supervisor that the night before the drug test she took a prescribed medication, a muscle relaxant. According to the EEOC, thereafter, the company's owners were notified that Shrock had a medical prescription and that the company did not have a copy of the prescription on file. The EEOC said that the next day, Loflin fired Shrock because she did not give the company a copy of her prescription.
Upon learning of her termination, Shrock notified one of the owners that she had been prescribed the medication by a doctor to treat a neck or back condition. According to the suit, the owner refused to rescind the termination decision and to allow Shrock to work as an office manager while taking a muscle relaxant. Shrock's drug test came back negative for all drugs tested.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from improper medical inquiries and from discrimination based on their actual or perceived disabilities. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Loflin Fabrication LLC, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00813) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
"Federal law prohibits employers from making inquiries that can reveal disability-related information unless employers can establish that there is a business necessity for such inquiries based on each employee's particular job duties," said Kara G. Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "Hard-working employees should not lose their jobs simply because they are unwilling to disclose private health information that has nothing to do with their ability to do their jobs."
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.