Press Release 04-01-2020

EEOC Sues Blue Sky Vision for Disability Discrimination

Employer's Unlawful Inquiry and Termination of Employee Violated the ADA, Federal Agency Says

DETROIT -- Blue Sky Vision, L.L.C., a Delaware-based management services organ­ization that provides support to eye care providers, violated federal law when it subjected an employee to an unlawful medical inquiry and then fired him because it perceived him to be disabled, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.  

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee was hired in June of 2018 as an optometrist for Blue Sky Vision in Grand Rapids, Mich. Approximately three months later, the employee mentioned his medical condition to a coworker. Blue Sky management learned of the employee's condition and, without conducting an individualized assessment to determine whether the condition would affect his ability to perform his job, told him that he could no longer work for the company. When the employee argued that Blue Sky's actions were illegal, the company postponed his termination, placed him on a leave of absence and required him to submit to an overly broad and intrusive medical inquiry into health conditions unrelated to his ability to perform his job. When the employee opposed the breadth of the medical inquiry and refused to submit to it, Blue Sky sent him an official termination letter, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from improper medical inquiries and from discrimination based on actual or per­ceived disabil­ities. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Blue Sky Vision, LLC. Case No. 1:20-cv-00285) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan 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.

"Employers should not rush to judgment and terminate an employee simply because that person disclosed a medical condition," said EEOC Trial Attorney Karen Brooks. "Moreover, medical inquiries must be job-related and consistent with business necessity in order to be lawful."

The Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

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.