The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Brookshire’s Grocery Co. recently agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the agency on behalf of a former employee allegedly demoted after the company learned that she was infected with Hepatitis C.
“The ADA prohibits employers from making employment decisions based solely upon fears about their employees’ medical conditions,” says EEOC trial attorney Tisha Dominguez. “Hepatitis C is not transmitted through casual contact, or through food. Therefore, the employer’s myths, fears and stereotypes that this employee would transmit her medical condition to others were unreasonable.”
As part of the settlement, Brookshire’s agreed to pay $50,000 to the employee and provide relevant training to its team within 180 days.
Tip: Learn the facts about an employee’s condition from a medical professional. Don’t rely on myths or prejudice. Further, keep confidential any medical information that you obtain while finding a reasonable accommodation for the employee.
- Back up discipline with details from your investigation
- When employee requests accommodation, beware overly cautious return-to-work conditions
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