EEOC sues Health Partners, Inc. for refusing to let employee work with noncontagious tuberculosis

Michigan rehabilitation and nursing company Health Partners, Inc. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to allow an employee to begin working there after a skin test for tuberculosis, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims in a lawsuit it filed on May 11, 2011.

The suit filed by the commission in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleged that Health Partners refused to permit a new employee to begin working for it as a home health aide after she had a preliminary positive test for tuberculosis (EEOC v Health
Partners, Inc
, EDMich, No 2-11-cv-12024). The employee subsequently had a negative chest x-ray and provided Health Partners with medical documentation showing that she did not have active, contagious tuberculosis, according to the EEOC. But Health Partners refused to reconsider its decision.

Employment discrimination based on a disability or perceived disability violates the ADA. The commission is seeking to recover monetary compensation for the employee, including back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.

“Refusing to employ this woman after she had provided medical proof that she did not have active tuberculosis violated federal law,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. “Some
people who have preliminary positive TB tests are not contagious and do not pose a health risk.”