Be careful before revoking a job offer based on a physical exam. Consider reasonable accommodations instead.
Recent case: When Brian Black interviewed with Mission Hospital for a position as a technical software engineer, he must have seemed like a good candidate because he was offered the job. After Black accepted, he underwent a medical exam, which showed he had limited color acuity.
Black claims he was called to discuss the colorblindness and requested a reasonable accommodation of having someone change the icon colors on hospital software so he could see them. Instead, the company rescinded the offer, allegedly telling Black that the reason was his colorblindness. It said it would be too hard to fix the icons.
He sued, alleging disability discrimination and retaliation. A technical problem with his EEOC complaint led the court toss out the retaliation claim. However, his disability discrimination claim will go to trial. (Black v. Mission Hospital, No. 1:11-CV-146, WD NC, 2011)
Final note: Imagine how this will play in front of a jury. Here’s someone who was obviously qualified for the job (after all, he received a job offer) who was summarily rejected because of colorblindness.
The hospital should have at least considered a reasonable accommodation instead of dismissing the suggestion out of hand as too expensive or difficult. At a minimum, it should have used actual dollar figures to document why the accommodation would be unreasonable.
- Supreme Court's new term: Arbitration, disparate impact on docket
- Use multimedia campaigns to nurture employee self-service
- Harassment: How to stop it before, and after, it starts
- Head off problem employees' retaliation suits: Document all decision-making as it happens
- Are you focused on what's relevant?