Company Refused to Let Employee With Non-Contagious Tuberculosis Work, Federal Agency Charged
DETROIT -- Health Partners, Inc., a Michigan rehabilitation and nursing company, violated federal law by refusing to allow an employee to begin working there after a skin test for tuberculosis, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit (EEOC v. Health Partners, Inc., Case No. 2-11-cv-12024), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Health Partners refused to permit a new employee to begin working for it as a home health aide after she had a preliminary positive test for tuberculosis. The employee subsequently had a negative chest x-ray and provided Health Partners with medical documentation showing that she did not have active, contagious tuberculosis. However, Health Partners refused to reconsider its decision, the EEOC said.
Employment discrimination based on a disability or perceived disability violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks to recover monetary compensation for the employee, including back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.
“Refusing to employ this woman after she had provided medical proof that she did not have active tuberculosis violated federal law,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. “Some people who have preliminary positive TB tests are not contagious and do not pose a health risk.”
Founded in 1990, Health Partners, Inc. specializes in providing rehabilitation services and in-home nursing care. Its corporate headquarters is located in Southfield, and the company also has locations in Flint, Grand Rapids, Petosky, Lansing, and Kalamazoo.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.