MILWAUKEE (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently reached a deal with Cessna Aircraft Company that will have the Wichita, Kansas-based business pay $167,500 and provide other relief over disability discrimination allegations.
EEOC charged Cessna with failing to make the necessary individualized assessment of conditional employees’ abilities to perform job functions. The company allegedly relied on workers’ compensation standards instead. In one case, EEOC claimed Cessna rescinded a job offer despite the prospective employee providing medical documentation that he could work without restriction.
Alleged conduct such as this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which bars companies from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities.
"Workers' compensation guidelines are not a proxy for the ability of an employee or conditional employee to perform the essential functions of the job," John C. Hendrickson, regional attorney of EEOC's Chicago District Office, said. "This settlement should remind employers that the ADA requires an individualized assessment of a candidate's ability to do the job. We appreciate Cessna's willingness to work with EEOC to resolve this case without a jury trial."
The $167,500 will go toward two former conditional employees. The deal also mandates that Cessna create a new ADA policy explicitly stating that applicants need not meet maximum medical improvement or have a permanent disability before being eligible for accommodation.
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