ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced June 12 that Amsted Rail Co Inc. will pay $4.4 million after allegations it disqualified job applicants after carpal tunnel syndrome tests conducted by a third party contractor.
"While it is lawful under some circumstances for employers to conduct limited medical exams after making conditional offers to job applicants, it is not 'anything goes'," Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC's St Louis District Office, said in a statement. "If workers are concerned about whether a particular medical exam is lawful or necessary, they should ask questions and seek legal advice if necessary."
According to the EEOC, the company failed to individually assess whether each job applicant could perform the duties of the role safely. Instead, the company purportedly relied on the carpal tunnel syndrome test for all applicants, in violation of federal disability law.
"Employers cannot avoid liability for unlawful discrimination by contracting out pre-employment medical screening and hiring functions and must be diligent to comply with the ADA when they rely on third party medical vendors,” EEOC St. Louis District director James R. Neely Jr. said in a statement. “Moving forward, we're hopeful Amsted's compliance with the consent decree will provide equal opportunities to all applicants without respect to disability."