Excerpted from JD Supra By U.S. Equal Employment Oppor¬tunity Commission (EEOC)
Battery Manufacturer Rescinded Its Job Offer Based on Unfounded Fears of Safety, Federal Agency Charged
Exide Technologies, a global corporation headquartered in Milton, Ga., that manufactures, distributes and sells stored energy components, will pay $45,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor¬tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC charged that the company violated federal law when it rescinded its job offer to an applicant after it learned that he suffered from a medical condition.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Exide made an employee a conditional job offer as a machine operator at its manufacturing facility in Columbus, Ga. When the employee went for a post-offer company physical, Exide learned he has chronic kidney disease. As a result of un¬founded fears about his ability to perform the job safely, Exide unlawfully rescinded its job offer three days later.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Exide Technologies Inc., Civil Action No. 4:18-cv-00229-CDL) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Columbus Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Under the consent decree settling the suit, Exide will pay the employee $45,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages. In addition, Exide will be required to distribute a revised formal, written anti-discrimination policy to all employees at its Columbus facility. The decree also requires that the company provide annual disability discrimination training to its managers, super¬visors and employees. The decree further requires the company to post a notice to its employees about the lawsuit and to provide periodic reporting to the EEOC about disability discrimination complaints.
“We are pleased Exide has agreed to resolve this matter,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “An employer cannot refuse to hire a qualified applicant simply because of fears about a disa-bility. Rescinding an applicant’s job offer based on assump¬tions about the person and his disability violates federal law, and the EEOC will vindicate the rights of victims of such baseless discrimination.”
Darrell E. Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “Employees with disabilities are contributing members of the workforce and should never be denied the protections bestowed upon them by our federal laws. Employers are not permitted to deny an employment opportunity to a person with a disability based on generalized assumptions.”