The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Life Care Medical Services this week for allegedly discriminating against an employee with multiple sclerosis.

The lawsuit alleges that for 8 months an EMT-Paramedic at Life Care Medical Services requested leave as a reasonable accommodation for his MS. However, the employer denied his requests and subjected him to disciplinary action. The employee was eventually fired for absences. The EEOC claims that the employee was terminated because of his disability, which is unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ADA prevents employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against job applicants, new employees and current employees because of their disability. This protection expands to all decisions that an employer makes regarding an employee or potential employees, including providing disabled employees with different sets of job or training opportunities. The employer also may not engage in a contract that will discriminate against those with disabilities before or after hiring. The employer also cannot require that applicants perform testing that bears no relevance to the job. For example, a test of endurance or strength would be completely inappropriate for a position that does not require an employee to perform physical activity beyond typical office work. Additionally, the fact that an employee has a relationship (for example a child or spouse) with a person with a disability cannot be used to deny any opportunities to the employee.

One of the most sensitive topics in disability discrimination law is whether the applicant should bring up their disability in the interview. An applicant is not required to bring up their disability and the employer is generally not allowed to ask about a disability, unless the disability is obvious and the employer asks whether it would be necessary to obtain a reasonable accommodation, or the applicant requests reasonable accommodation for the interview process. However, if reasonable accommodation will be needed for the actual position, the applicant is not required to disclose this during the interview.

An employer also generally cannot require applicants to take medical examinations before being hired. Although an employer may request a medical exam if an offer for employment is provided, and the employer may only retract the offer of employment based on learning of the disability if it can show that reasonable accommodation is not possible.

If you have been the victim of discrimination contact an experienced attorney right away. Call the experienced California disability discrimination attorneys of the Law Offices of Michael S. Cunningham, LLP for a free consultation at (951) 213-4786.

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