The EEOC entered into a Consent Decree on November 15, 2016, settling a case alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act for $1.6 million. The EEOC claimed that the employer took adverse actions against applicants and employees with actual or perceived disabilities on the basis that the employer believed the individuals posed safety threats.  However, according to EEOC, those actions were taken without actually assessing the individual’s ability to perform the required tasks.  One of the plaintiffs, for example, was not hired after the employer learned that she took medication for a traumatic brain injury.  Click here to read the full article.

This settlement highlights the dangers of making assumptions about applicants’ or employees’ use of medications without conducting the “direct threat” analysis required by the Americans With Disabilities Act and comparable state laws.  An individualized assessment must be conducted before an employer can conclude that the applicant’s or employee’s use of medication poses a direct threat of harm in the workplace.