Dallas Electric Utility to Pay $50K to Settle Federal Disability Discrimination Suit

September 11, 2019

A Dallas-based electric utility company will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit, federal officials said.

A consent decree in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) lawsuit against Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC was approved by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings on Sept. 9, 2019.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Delores McCraney, a representative who worked for Oncor for 13 years, was fired from Oncor’s Dallas headquarters when she refused to sign an agreement promising to abide by a company requirement to disclose, directly to her supervisor, all medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, that could affect job performance, including dosages and changes of dosages.

The EEOC said that this broad requirement violated the prohibition against medical inquiries of employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability in the workplace.

Under EEOC guidance, inquiries about employees’ medications are permitted only in limited circumstances, in positions affecting public safety, and only where the employer can demonstrate that an employee’s impaired ability to perform job duties will result in a direct threat.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, Case No 3:18-cv-01786, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. In this case, the EEOC sought back pay plus compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, including an order barring similar violations in the future.

The three-year consent decree settling the suit prohibits future discrimination and retaliation. In addition to the monetary relief, the company must disseminate its revised policy to all employees; provide annual training regarding the very limited new rule as to medication disclosures; provide avenues for reporting violations of the new policy; and warn of discipline for any manager who continues the prior discriminatory practices.

Oncor is a regulated electric utility company that provides service to approximately 10 million customers across Texas, including the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Source: EEOC

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