An assisted living and nursing home facility in Vale, Ore., violated federal law when it refused to hire an applicant with a disability for which she took a prescription medication, says the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a recently filed lawsuit.
Pioneer Place Assisted Living refused to hire Pamila Bourasa for a cook position because of her drug test results, even though she told them beforehand she was on prescription medication for epilepsy that would show up on the test.
Prior to the drug test, Bourasa had completed a “positive” interview with Pioneer and had even discussed a start date, prompting her to give notice at her old job.
The facility then told her they would not be hiring her due to the drug test results.
Bourasa has previously been fired from a job because of her epilepsy prior to protection under the American Disabilities Act, she says, adding she was “shocked” Pioneer would label her epilepsy medication as a violation of its drug-free workplace policy.
EEOC launched an investigation into the case, but after attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through conciliation, the commission filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damages on behalf of Bourasa and injunctive relief to correct the alleged illegal work practices.
“The ADA protects workers with disabilities from being excluded based on misinformation and stereotypes,” said William Tamayo, EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney, in a statement. “Employers must individually evaluate the specific case in front of them. In this instance, Ms. Bourasa worked successfully for years while taking her prescription medication, but Pioneer simply rejected her out of hand.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace