Tyler, Texas-based medical providers, Pulmonary Specialists of Tyler and Sleep Health, will pay $30,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by federal regulators.
According to the lawsuit filed by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Sleep Health required employees to complete a medical questionnaire that contained unlawful medical inquiries that were not job related nor required by business necessity.
The EEOC alleged that the medical questionnaire asked if employees had any of over 20 listed medical conditions, whether the employee had an impairment or disability, whether the employee had previous surgery or received a permanent disability rating.
Former employee Angela Abler answered all of the questions truthfully, stating that she had been injured on the job in 1996, and had back surgery, and as a result, was given a permanent partial disability rating.
However, this back surgery and resulting disability did not impact her ability to perform the work of billing/collections specialist. Within a week after completing the medical questionnaire, Abler was terminated.
“PSOT and Sleep Health’s requirements for unnecessarily broad disclosure of this information was by itself a violation of the ADA. Terminating Ms. Abler’s employment based upon her answers to the unlawful questionnaire just made matters worse with yet another violation,” Supervisory Trial Attorney Suzanne M. Anderson for the EEOC said in the agency’s announcement.
A three-year consent decree, signed on April 15 by U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Schroeder III, calls for the defendants to provide monetary relief to. Abler. The consent decree also specifies that the medical providers will cease use of the medical questionnaire and implement policies prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities.
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