Genie Temporary Service in La Salle will be closing its doors soon, but not before paying $80,000 to a former temp who the EEOC says was a victim of disability discrimination.
Genie had placed the man with Clover Technologies Group in Hoffman Estates where he unpacked and sorted ink cartridges. He had a brief epileptic seizure on his first day of work. Clover allowed him to work the rest of the day, but asked him to provide a note from his doctor authorizing him to return to work after that.
He brought in a note to Genie the next day, but the company neither told him that the note was inadequate, nor forwarded it to Clover. After that, Genie never assigned the man to Clover or any other employer, effectively ending his employment.
The man complained to the EEOC, alleging that Genie discriminated against him because of his disability.
When efforts to resolve the dispute through the EEOC’s conciliation process failed, the commission filed suit on the man’s behalf. That’s when Genie agreed to settle the case.
In the middle of legal proceedings, Genie informed the court it was going out of business, so the settlement imposes no sanctions other than the $80,000 payment.
However, if the company’s owners ever again operate a temp services firm, they will have to establish procedures for accommodating disabled employees and require medical exams only for conditions that are job-related and consistent with business necessity.
Note: Joint employer situations are always tricky. Temp agencies and client companies that use them should seek legal advice when facing possible liability.
Temporary agencies must follow the law even if their client companies object. If a temp agency believes a client has taken illegal action against an employee, it should request a written explanation. If the reason appears discriminatory, a call from an attorney may be in order.