The said lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Tyson Food, Inc. last May 2010.
The lawsuit stemmed when an applicant filed a complaint against Tyson before the office of the EEOC. Allegedly, Tyson failed to hire Mark White for an open maintenance position in its facility in Sedalia, Missouri due to his epilepsy which had been controlled for over twelve years through medication.
In fact, White has been previously employed at Tyson on two occasions during the said long period. However, in his last hiring, White’s was declined for his application after he failed to pass the medical exam since Tyson established a new medical assessment procedure.
White claimed that the doctor who performed his evaluation on behalf of Tyson did not examined White but merely relied on outdated medical research in determining whether he could safely perform the job.
Aside from agreeing to pay the amount in consideration, Tyson also agreed to establish a new assessment process for similar cases. From now on, an applicant who has been declined in the first medical assessment by Tyson may have a second medical assessment but at the applicant’s expense. Additionally, an independent and determinative third medical assessment can be made for any applicant not hired after the second assessment.
The consent decree settling the lawsuit must be first approved by US District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey. Other prohibitive reliefs such as training to individuals involved in the assessment procedure, posting of notification, and compliance reporting to the agency are also provided for Tyson.
EEOC attorney Melvin Kennedy said that the three-step medical assessment process agreed to by both party is a great leap towards the right direction in ensuring that disabled employees are given a full and equal opportunity to compete in the employment industry.
Though the only facility that was affected by the consent decree was the one in Sedalia, Missouri, the EEOC is hoping that other Tyson facilities will also adopt the said agreement.
People with disabilities should be given with equal opportunity particularly when it comes to hiring and employment.
The laws on disability discrimination have broad provisions that protect disabled individuals against employers’ harassment. Applicants with impairment who suffered discrimination or a hostile work environment from a company may consult with experienced employment law attorneys for proper advice and legal help.