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Kansas employer's disability determination causes discrimination

One of the categories of legally recognized employment discrimination is disability discrimination. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats employees with recognized disabilities in a disparaging way as compared to other employees. This type of discrimination has been alleged in a recent lawsuit that was filed against a Kansas-based employer.

The recently filed lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit was filed against Kansas employer BNSF Railway Co. The basis of the lawsuit claims the employer acted discriminatorily against a disabled employment applicant, which resulted in the employer's failure to hire an applicant.

The actual event occurred in 2008, but the lawsuit was recently filed. The applicant was a Kansas resident, who was a locomotive electrician. The lawsuit claims the employer did not hire the applicant because the employer believed the man was disabled and unable to perform the job duties. The record indicates the man was assessed as disabled by the employer's medical officer without appropriate testing of his ability to perform the job duties. The record also indicates the man had been performing related job duties successfully since 1992.

Although the lawsuit has been filed, the employer claims it has not received a copy of the complaint. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit, claims the allegations are the result of extensive attempts to settle the discrimination claim prior to the litigation stage. The lawsuit seeks disability training for the employer's employees, back pay for the applicant and both compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the man.

Source: Kansas City Star, "Lawsuit accuses BNSF Railway of discrimination," Diane Stafford, Sept. 27, 2012

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