Temporary Agency Refused to Hire an Applicant Because of Conditions Disclosed by Illegal Medical Inquiries, Federal Agency Charges
RALEIGH, N.C. - A temporary employment agency violated federal law when it asked an applicant illegal medical questions during its application process and then refused to hire the applicant because of her responses to those illegal medical inquiries, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. In addition, the suit alleges that Two Hawk failed to retain employment applications as required by federal law.
Two Hawk Employment Services, LLC operates a temporary staffing agency based in Lumberton, N.C. As a staffing agency, Two Hawk places temporary workers at a number of employers.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Nicole Bullard applied for employment with Two Hawk in May 2013 and was required to fill out a medical history form during the application process. The form asked Bullard to identify medical conditions she has or had in the past, as well as to disclose whether she was taking any medications that might affect her ability to perform the essential functions of the job. The form further asked Bullard to state whether she had physical or mental conditions that require accommodation, and whether she had any restrictions in activity. In response to the application's questions, Bullard disclosed that she was taking two prescription medications.
Thereafter, EEOC said, Bullard received a conditional job offer from Two Hawk. During her orientation for work with Two Hawk, Bullard was questioned about her medications, and provided information in response to those questions. The following day, Bullard's job offer was rescinded and Bullard was told she had not passed a "pre-screening test."
The questions asked during the application process, as well as the alleged refusal to hire Bullard due to the medical information disclosed, violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC's complaint also charges that Two Hawk failed to retain applications and other documents related to hiring as required by the Commission's record-keeping regulations, in violation of 29 C.F.R. § 1602.14.
EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Two Hawk Employment Services, LLC; Civil Action No. 7:16-CV-00026-FL) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.
"Employers must be mindful of prohibitions by federal law against illegal medical inquiries," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney of EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "EEOC is here to defend the rights of employees and job applicants to be free of such unfair and unlawful probing."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.