BALTIMORE — Volvo Group North America will pay $70,000 to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for the car dealer's refusal to hire a recovering drug addict who was in a medically supervised treatment program.

In the suit, the EEOC alleged Volvo violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by making a conditional job offer to a qualified applicant who was in a supervised medication-assisted drug treatment program. However, when the applicant reported to work for the laborer position at its Hagerstown, Maryland, facility, he was told he could not be hired because of his suboxone use. According to the suit, the applicant had explained his medically prescribed suboxone use at the time of his pre-employment physical, but the company failed to do an assessment to see if his medication would affect his ability to perform the job he was offered. 

"Employers should make hiring decisions based on the qualifications of an applicant, not his disability or participation in a medically supervised treatment program," said EEOC Philadelphia District office director Jamie R. Williamson in a news release. 

Among Volvo's other requirements under the three-year consent decree resolving the suit, are the distribution of ADA policy information to all its Hagerstown facility employees explaining the right to reasonable accommodation for a disability, unless it poses undue hardship. The company will also amend its policy on post-offer medical and drug evaluations to explain if an applicant's lawful use of prescription drugs poses a direct threat as defined by the ADA.

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