A director at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which oversees a number of employment discrimination cases out of New Jersey commented on how employers continually make hiring and firing decisions based on discriminatory practices. This director was referring to a case where a distributor of a health magazine possibly terminated a worker due to that individual’s disability status in violation of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA).
To compound the problem, the health magazine distributor also required employees sign a “health warranty” as a condition of their employment. This “health warranty” was to certify that the employee was in good health and did not use particular medications. Obviously such a policy would prevent individuals with certain medical conditions from working for the magazine.
Suit was filed against the company after an attempt to reach a settlement had failed. The employer has now been ordered to pay $58,000 to the fired employee and is enjoined from requiring employees to sign any “health warranty” in return for employment.
There seems to be no end of discriminatory practices in the workplace. It was not that long ago that an employee could systematically be kept out of workplaces because of race and we still find evidence of racial discrimination when it comes to hiring and firing of workers. Despite executive orders and federal law, gender discrimination at the workplace also continues. Now disabled workers continually fight for their right to remain in the workplace as well.
The policy behind the prohibition of such discrimination is to treat all employees fairly regardless if they are disabled, and to insure that the acts of employers respect employee rights equally. Though this may seem practical and obvious after all the coverage that discrimination has received over the past decades, employers continue practices that defy commonsense. While employment discrimination continues, attorneys will continue bringing lawsuits against those employers that discriminate.
Source: JobMouse, “Health Magazine Harassed and Fired Worker With Disabilities, Made Newly Hired Workers Sign ‘Health Warranty’,” by Anneline Waldman, Feb. 8, 2012