The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the city of Woodlake, Calif., to resolve allegations that the city engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against people with disabilities by requiring applicants for job vacancies to undergo unlawful pre-employment medical examinations before receiving an offer of employment, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The settlement concludes a pattern or practice investigation by the Justice Department based on information that the city of Woodlake was requiring all job applicants to undergo a medical examination as part of the application process, before making an offer of employment. Such pre-offer medical examinations are illegal under the ADA, as they make it easier for employers to discriminate against qualified individuals on the basis of disability in the hiring process. The settlement agreement requires the city to eliminate its current discriminatory policy, to develop and implement a non-discrimination policy and to train staff on the requirements of the ADA.
“This settlement is an important step towards eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities in employment,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the city of Woodlake for working cooperatively with the Justice Department to ensure that their policies and practices comply with federal law and for their commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities are treated equally and fairly in the hiring process.”
"We are pleased that the city of Woodlake and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed so quickly on measures that will protect the rights of individuals with disabilities,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin B. Wagner.
The ADA requires that employers, including state and local government entities, not conduct any pre-employment medical examination or inquiry before making an offer of employment. Once a conditional job offer is made, employers may make disability-related inquiries or conduct medical examinations of an applicant if this is done for all entering employees in that job category regardless of disability. Once an employee is hired, employers may only make disability-related inquiries or require medical examinations of an employee if such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity. The ADA also requires employers not to discriminate against individuals with disabilities in making personnel decisions, including hiring or promoting employees.
More information about this settlement and the obligations of employers under the ADA is available through the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) and on the ADA website at www.ada.gov . ADA complaints may be filed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .