As a general rule, employers in California and around the country may not refuse to hire people based solely on their disability. Volvo Group North America is paying $70,000 to settle a case involving an employee who was hired to work at a facility in Maryland. The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC after pre-trial negotiations proved to be fruitless.
The worker was a recovering drug addict. As part of his treatment plan, he was taking a substance called Suboxone. Upon reporting for his first day at work, Volvo told the individual that he would not be hired because of his Suboxone use. This decision was made without any assessment done as to how using the substance would impact his ability to work. As such, it was deemed to be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In addition to the financial portion of the settlement, Volvo will provide additional training on how to comply with ADA requirements. The training will focus on provisions in the ADA regarding prescription drug use as well as providing reasonable accommodations for employees who are disabled. It will also change how it assesses whether the use of prescription medication could pose a direct threat as described by the ADA.
Workers who are treated differently because of a disability may have experienced disability discrimination by an employer. Generally speaking, those who are disabled must be given reasonable accommodations to do their job. Furthermore, employers generally cannot make employment decisions such as whether to promote, demote or terminate a worker because a worker is disabled. People who have been harmed in such a manner might want to meet with an attorney to see what options they might have.