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Press Release 09-28-2022

International Paper Co. to Pay $65,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Paper Company Applicant Denied Job Because of ADHD Medication, Federal Agency Charged

DALLAS – Memphis-based International Paper Co. will pay $65,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the claimant received an offer of employment at the company’s Grand Prairie, Texas location conditioned upon a medical examination and negative drug test. As part of the medical examination, the applicant disclosed that he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and prescribed Adderall, a medication used to treat ADHD. The applicant’s drug test showed a positive result for amphetamines, and International Paper revoked the applicant’s conditional job offer. The applicant was informed that the decision to revoke his job offer was because he did not pass the drug test.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the applicant contacted International Paper twice to provide the company with his treating physician’s phone number, and to explain that he believed the company had violated the ADA. But this information had no impact on the company’s decision to revoke the appli­cant’s job offer.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations of disabilities absent undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No. 3:22-cv-00810, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit, entered by U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle on September 28, 2022, prohibits future discrimination and retaliation and, in addition to the monetary relief, requires the employer to provide annual training on reasonable accommodations to all human resources person­nel working at the Grand Prairie facility. In addition, the defendant will supply all applicants to the Grand Prairie facility who are required to submit to drug testing with the contact information for the company’s drug testing vendor in the event they require reasonable accommodation of a disability in the drug testing process.

“Federal law protects job applicants and employees equally from disability discrimination,” said Brooke López, trial attorney in the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “We are pleased about the relief we were able to secure for the individual claimant, and we are greatly encouraged that the updates made to the defendant’s drug testing procedures may benefit other prospective employees in the future.” 

EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino added, “One key aspect of the ADA is to guard against assumptions about disabilities, and also about the medications that may be associated with such condi­tions.  Drug testing can be administered effectively, but acting too quickly without an individualized assessment can lead to discrimination against well-qualified applicants.”

For more information on disability discrimination, please visit

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