EEOC Settles with One Manufacturer, Sues Another for Discrimination

Jan. 24, 2018
Both cases relate to violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Volvo Group North America has settled a federal lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for disability discrimination, the agency reported.

The manufacturer will pay $70,000 plus provide other equitable relief to remedy conduct that violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the EEOC said.

According to the federal agency, Volvo made a conditional offer to a qualified applicant who also was a recovering addict in a supervised medication-assisted treatment program. The applicant reported during a post offer physical examination that he was taking medically prescribed suboxone.

The EEOC said Volvo failed to conduct an individualized assessment to determine what effect, if any, the suboxone would have on the applicant's ability to perform his job. When he reported to his first day of work as a laborer, the applicant was told he would not be hired due to his suboxone use.

 In addition to the monetary relief, a three-year consent decree enjoins the manufacturer from future ADA violations. Volvo will also distribute to all employees at its Hagerstown, Md., facility (where the applicant sought employment) an ADA policy, amend its policy on post-offer medical and drug evaluations, provide ADA training, report to the EEOC how it handles any disability discrimination complaints, and post a notice of the settlement.

In a separate case, the EEOC has sued Wauseon, Ohio, knife manufacturer Busse Combat Knife Co. for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the agency, a CNC machine operator left work in 2016 after suffering an anxiety attack. After learning that the employee suffered from generalized anxiety disorder, the knife manufacturer asked why the disorder was not disclosed at hire and asked the worker to provide a medical note clearing him for work. Despite providing the requested note, Busse Combat Knife fired the worker because of the disability, in violation of the ADA, the agency claims.

The EEOC filed the suit after first seeking a voluntary pre-litigation settlement, it said.  

About the Author

Jill Jusko

Bio: Jill Jusko is executive editor for IndustryWeek. She has been writing about manufacturing operations leadership for more than 20 years. Her coverage spotlights companies that are in pursuit of world-class results in quality, productivity, cost and other benchmarks by implementing the latest continuous improvement and lean/Six-Sigma strategies. Jill also coordinates IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Awards Program, which annually salutes the leading manufacturing facilities in North America.

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