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Workplace discrimination and epilepsy

One often wonders what management of major corporations happened to be thinking when they are forced to litigate a lawsuit concerning workplace disability discrimination. Tyson Foods, one of the largest meat processors in the world and who sells its goods in Indiana, allegedly denied employment to individuals that were diagnosed with epilepsy. The company has now agreed to pay $35,000 and other additional relief to every applicant denied employment due to their epilepsy.

Tyson had instituted a medical assessment procedure which disqualified applicants that did not pass the medical exam. However, the company was never able to show a correlation between those failing the exam due to epilepsy and those not able to perform their job. In one particular circumstance, an applicant with epilepsy failed the evaluation without actually being examined by the company doctor.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), procedures must be put in place to insure that disabled employees are provided the opportunity to prove that they can complete at the workplace. They should not be disqualified from taking on such a position when a medical disability does not prevent them from performing their job duties.

Attorneys are available for disabled employees who do have experience in employment law and who can help disabled employees bring claims when they feel that they have been discriminated against. Such attorneys can look into the individual facts of these cases and determine if a business has been in violation of state or federal employment laws.

It serves no purpose in preventing disabled individuals from taking on a position to which they can make a positive contribution.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Tyson Foods Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit," Feb. 23, 2012

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