Medical Providers Pay $30K, Change Disability Inquiry Policies to Resolve Suit

April 22, 2019

Pulmonary Specialists of Tyler (PSOT) and Sleep Health have agreed to pay $30,000 and change their policies and practices to settle allegations that they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they required employees to respond to unlawful medical inquiries and then fired one based on her answers. Sleep Health required employees to complete a medical questionnaire that contained unlawful medical inquiries that were neither job related nor required by business necessity. The medical questionnaire allegedly asked if employees had any of more than 20 listed medical conditions, whether the employee had an impairment or disability, and whether the employee had previous surgery or received a permanent disability rating. An employee answered all of the questions , stating that she had been injured on-the-job in 1996 and had back surgery, and as a result, was given a permanent partial disability rating. However, this back surgery and resulting disability allegedly did not impact her ability to perform the work of Billing/Collections Specialist. Within a week after completing the medical questionnaire, the employee was terminated. Under a three-year consent decree entered by the court, in addition to the monetary relief to the employee, the Tyler, Texas-based medical providers will stop using the medical questionnaire and implement policies prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities.