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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
5-31-12

Children's Hospital Colorado to Pay $95K to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit

Employer Withdrew Job Offer to Applicant With Fibromyalgia, Federal Agency Charged

    DENVER – Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colo., will pay $95,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. 

According to the EEOC’s suit, Children’s discriminated against an applicant for hire due to her disability, fibromyalgia.  Cecilia McMurray applied for a staff assistant position with Colorado Children’s Healthcare Access Program in Pediatric Medicine.  After three interviews, McMurray was offered the position of staff assistant II, contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment health screen.  Following a medical exam arranged by Children’s, the hospital withdrew its offer of employment to McMurray.

Denying a job to an applicant because of a disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. Children’s Hospital Colorado, Case No. 11-cv-02104-REB-CBS) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has agreed to pay $95,000 to McMurray to resolve this case.  The hospital entered into a consent decree and agreed to ensure all employees involved in the hiring process are trained on ADA requirements.  Children’s Hospital Colorado will also report to the EEOC each time a person is denied hire due to a medical screen during the decree’s duration.

“The ADA is a complicated statute, and an employer’s obligations with respect to post-offer medical exams are particularly complex,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.  “Employers need to be very careful when they utilize pre-employment health screens.  We applaud Children’s Hospital for taking steps to improve its hiring process to ensure that employees with disabilities are not excluded from employment.”  

EEOC Denver Field Office Director Nancy Sienko added, “It is important that employers give applicants with disabilities a fair shake and make employment decisions based on facts and not myths, fears or stereotypes.  We commend Children’s for ensuring its hiring decisions comply with the ADA.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.