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Kmart settles for $102K for denying a reasonable accommodation

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled employees so that they have the same opportunities as those who are not disabled. The ADA also requires Texas employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to applicants who need them during the application and hiring process due to disabilities that are covered under the act. Companies that knowingly do not work within the confines of the law and choose not to accommodate applicants who are disabled may face legal backlash.

A man who applied to work at a Kmart store claims that he was denied a position because the company would not provide him with a reasonable accommodation during the hiring process. He claims that after he was offered a job, the hiring manager told him that the next step would be to take a mandatory drug screening to complete the process. The plaintiff alleges that he told the manager that he would not be able to provide a urine sample because he suffers from kidney disease and is on dialysis.

However, the plaintiff did say that he was more than happy to take an alternative test that would not require a urine sample. He reportedly offered to give a blood or hair sample as an alternative. Kmart allegedly did not agree to an alternative test and withdrew his employment offer.

The man filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Kmart and won his case, resulting in a settlement for just over $102,000. As a result of the case, Kmart must train all store managers and human resources personnel on the ADA. The company is also required to revisit its drug-screening policy so that it includes a reasonable accommodation for those who need it. It is illegal for a Texas employer to discriminate against an applicant for any protected characteristic. Those who feel that they have been victimized have the right to file claims under state and federal employment laws.

Source: consumerist.com, "Kmart To Pay $102K For Refusing To Hire Dialysis Patient Who Couldn't Give Urine Sample", Ashlee Kieler, Jan. 29, 2015

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