ADA in the News August 10, 2021

Professional Transportation, Inc. to Pay $60,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) lawsuit, in February 2019, a job applicant recovering from opioid addiction sought a position as a van driver at the Professional Transportation, Inc.’s (PTI’s) Bluefield, W.V., branch, and PTI subsequently made a conditional job offer to her. However, PTI later rescinded its offer after the job applicant informed the company that she was receiving Suboxone treatment, the EEOC said. A PTI human resources official reviewed information about the possible safety related side effects of Suboxone and then disqualified the job applicant based on her Suboxone treatment without considering whether she actually experiences any side effects from the medication. The job applicant does not experience side effects from Suboxone, and she informed the company that her medication did not affect her driving ability, the EEOC said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in employment, including disqualifying a disabled worker from a job because the worker is receiving medical treatment for a disability, such as use of prescribed medication, when such treatment does not create a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the worker or others when the worker is performing the job.


Settlement Agreement between the United States and Brown University

Brown University denied certain undergraduate students who had taken a medical leave for mental health reasons from the fall 2012 to the spring 2017 semesters the opportunity to participate in and benefit from Brown’s services on the basis of disability by denying their applications for readmission to Brown following medical leaves of absence, even though the students met all of the requirements for returning to school and despite the conclusions of the students’ own treatment providers.

The Parties agree that it is in their best interests, and the United States believes that it is in the public interest, to resolve this dispute without engaging in protracted litigation.


Institute of Living Settles ADA Complaint, Ensures Access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals

The Institute of Living is a mental health center that specializes in comprehensive patient care, research and education in the fields of behavioral, psychiatric and addiction disorders whose services are provided to the public. Disability Rights Connecticut filed the complaint on behalf of a complainant who is profoundly deaf.

It is alleged that the complainant went to the Hartford Hospital Emergency Room and was then transferred to and treated by the medical staff at the Institute. On multiple occasions, the complainant requested a sign language interpreter during her several days of admission to understand treatment options and to attend group therapy sessions, and to understand and sign documents provided to her during her stay. She was not provided with a qualified interpreter and was not able to participate in group therapy sessions to treat her depression and suicidal ideations. The complainant also could not communicate with her treating psychiatrist and did not fully understand why she had been admitted into the hospital.

Title III of the ADA requires places of public accommodation, including hospital facilities, to take steps to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded, segregated or otherwise treated differently due to the absence of auxiliary aids and services, such as qualified interpreters.

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