Press Release 04-15-2020

Army Sustainment, LLC Sued by EEOC for Disability

Government Contractor Prohibited Employees From Taking Their Disability-Related Medications, Federal Agency Charges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Army Sustainment, LLC violated federal law when it required employees to discontinue taking medications prescribed by their physicians to treat their disabilities as a condition of maintaining their employment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

From 2003 to 2018, Army Sustainment was a government contractor providing aviation main­tenance support to the United States Aviation Center and United States Air Force at Fort Rucker, Ala. According to the EEOC's suit, beginning in 2016, Army Sustainment prohibited all use of certain prescription medications during both work and non-work hours, including certain pain control medica­tions, without regard to whether the medication interfered with an employee's ability to work safely. According to the suit, some employees switched to less effective medications to keep their jobs, while others left their jobs rather than comply.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Army Sustainment, LLC f/k/a L-3 Army Sustainment, LLC f/k/a Army Fleet Support, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-00234-SRW) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay as well as compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief for a class of individuals who were adversely affected.

"Federal disability law protects many employees who have medical conditions," said Bradley Anderson, district director of the EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "The EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce all aspects of the ADA's employment provisions, especially its prohibition against policies that screen out employees with disabilities and prevent them from working."

"Many of these employees had been taking their medication for several years without incident prior to Army Sustainment's implementation of its policy banning use of certain prescription drugs," said Marsha Rucker, regional attorney of the EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "Under the ADA, an individualized assessment of an employee's ability to perform his job duties safely is required before prohibiting employees from taking medications prescribed to treat and manage their disabilities."

One of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the agency to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including qualification standards that discriminate against individuals with disabilities.

The EEOC's Birmingham District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

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.