Home Care Company Refused to Hire Home Caregiver It Perceived as Disabled, Federal Agency Says
BALTIMORE - M&R Consulting, LLC, a Towson, Md,-based home care agency doing business as Home Instead Senior Care, violated federal law when it rescinded a job offer because it regarded an applicant as having tuberculosis, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
The EEOC said that M&R Consulting conditionally hired a qualified applicant for a caregiving position in Towson, subject to her passing pre-employment requirements, including a skin test for tuberculosis. The applicant, who had prior caregiving experience, tested positive for tuberculosis on the purified protein derivative skin test. However, that skin test only shows that someone has been exposed to tuberculosis bacteria and not whether the person has latent tuberculosis or has progressed to active tuberculosis disease. Prior to this test, the applicant had never tested positive for tuberculosis and had no symptoms of the disease, EEOC charges.
M&R Consulting's human resources coordinator told the applicant to submit to a chest x-ray for tuberculosis. The applicant emailed M&R Consulting the x-ray, which confirmed that she did not have tuberculosis. According to the suit, M&R Consulting emailed the applicant that, "any positive results are not accepted whether latent or otherwise" and wrongfully rescinded the job offer because it perceived the applicant as disabled.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination because an employer believes someone has a disability, even if she does not have such an impairment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. M&R Consulting, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-01638-ELH) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary, pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "The applicant provided an x-ray proving that she did not have active tuberculosis. She was well-qualified for the position but M&R Consulting rescinded the job offer even though she was not a health risk. That's a violation of the ADA and that's why we filed this lawsuit."
"Employers should make hiring decisions based on facts and qualifications, not ill-founded fears or biases about an applicant's medical condition," added Jamie R. Williamson, district director of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office.
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). Addressing emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA, is another SEP priority.
The EEOC's Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.