Contractor Used Medical Questionnaires, Exams To Eliminate Workers With Disabilities, Suit Alleges

March 05, 2018

Zachry Construction Corporation violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when the San Antonio, Texas-based construction and industrial contractor fired employees whose post-offer medical questionnaires and subsequent medical examinations revealed they had disabilities, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

At the time of termination, all these employees were already performing their job duties in a satisfactory manner, the EEOC alleged.

In June 2015, an applicant sought a Boilermaker I position at the Chevron refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Around the time he was hired, Zachry Construction required the employee to complete a medical questionnaire. On August 25, a month after the employee began working, the company required him to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination, according to the EEOC. Purportedly, after a brief examination and review of the employee’s medical information, the examining physician found he was unable to perform his job duties, even though he had satisfactorily performed those duties for the past month. Zachry Construction fired the employee the following day.

Other employees fired also. Zachry Construction also fired two other employees after it learned that they had disabilities. On May 17, 2016, the company required one of those employees to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination. During the examination, Zachry Construction’s physician allegedly learned of a past surgery and lingering neck pain. The company purportedly refused to let the employee return to work and fired him.

The other employee was hired as a skilled laborer on July 6, 2015. He had undergone surgery on his right shoulder and had multiple right shoulder dislocations post-surgery. On April 4, 2016, Zachary Construction allegedly required him to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination. During the examination, Zachry's physician purportedly learned of the employee’s past surgery and multiple shoulder dislocations. The company also refused to let this employee to return to work and then terminated him.

The EEOC is seeking monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.