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Tyson Foods Settles $35,000 to Applicant Denied Job Due To Epilepsy
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In a precedent of sorts, Tyson Foods Inc., has decided to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought against it by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit was the result of Tyson Foods denying job to a former employee on grounds of suffering from epilepsy. Tyson Foods is one of the biggest processors on meat and chicken products in the world.

The lawsuit claimed that Tyson Foods had refused to hire Mark White in an open maintenance job at its Sedalia plant for his history of epilepsy, and that such refusal amounted to violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

White had been previously employed by Tyson Foods on two occasions and was aware that White had epilepsy controlled by medication. During White’s last job application, Tyson Foods employed a new medical assessment test according to which White failed to clear the requirements it prescribed for candidates with epilepsy.

  
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The suit alleged that while refusing White’s application, several other persons with epilepsy had been given jobs and that the doctor who assessed White did not examine him by passed his judgment based on an outdated medical research.

Following the settlement, Tyson Foods has agreed to start a new assessment procedure for candidates with epilepsy. Tyson Foods has also agreed to pay White a sum of $35,000 in back pay and compensations.

From now on, any applicant disqualified from a job due to the medical assessment procedure in place at Tyson Foods will have the right to a second medical assessment at the applicant’s cost. Further an independent third medical evaluation would be made for any applicant disqualified after the second assessment.

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EEOC attorney Melvin Kennedy said, “The potentially three-step medical assessment process agreed to by the parties is an extraordinary step in the right direction in terms of making sure disabled employees are given a full and fair opportunity to compete in the workplace.”

The Regional Attorney of EEOC, Barbara Seely informed that, “While the terms of the consent decree only affect Tyson’s Sedalia facility, Tyson employs more than 117,000 people at more than 400 facilities and offices, and we are hopeful that the process we have agreed to works well enough that Tyson adopts it in other facilities.”





 

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