The EEOC has just announced that it settled two suits both based upon the ADA, one case which involved an employee who had an epileptic seizure, and one case where the employer feared the future effects of an employee who had suffered a stroke. Employers should be aware that the ADA protects not only employees and job applicants who have actual disabilities, but those who are perceived to have disabilities.
In one lawsuit, the EEOC claimed that JES Personnel Consultants, Inc., doing business as Genie Temporary Service, terminated an employee who, on his first day of work, had an epileptic seizure, this despite that he provided the required doctor’s note authorizing him to return to work. The case was settled for $80,000.
In the second case, the EEOC settled a suit (for $50,000) with Maximus, Inc., a Virginia business consulting services firm which failed to promote an employee “because of concerns about the residual effects of a stroke that she suffered in July 2009.” An EEOC Regional Attorney stated that “Employers must remember that they cannot deny work opportunities to people who are ready and able simply because of inaccurate perceptions about medical impairments and disabilities (emphasis added).”