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Example of case where client’s job offer was withdrawn after client failed a required medical examination

The Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits an employer from refusing to hire an employee because of a “physical disability.” Employers are permitted to require a medical examination after an offer of employment has been made but prior to the commencement of the employment duties of the applicant and may condition an offer of employment on the results of the examination, if all entering employees are subjected to the same examination regardless of disability, and if the results of the examination are used in accordance with the MHRA.

The Maine Employee Rights Group recently handled a case where an employee’s job offer was wrongfully withdrawn because he failed to pass an employer-provided medical examination. Our client had suffered a knee injury that permanently affected his ability to walk, stand, and work. Despite his impairment, our client was not completely limited in his work capacity. Our client applied for a position in a hospital. The hospital offered the job to our client, but conditioned his offer on the results of a medical examination. Our client agreed to the examination and was able to perform all of the physical requirements. Despite our client’s adequate performance of the physical examination, the employer withdrew its offer of employment. The doctor who administered the exam stated that our client was unqualified because he could not perform the essential functions of the job.

The Maine Employee Rights Group assisted our client in filing a Charge of Discrimination against the employer with the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC). Our attorneys successfully argued that the employer had failed to meet its burden of showing that our client was physically unable to perform the duties of the job and perform them safely. Our client produced evidence demonstrating that he had in fact passed the medical examination and that he had performed other more physically assertive jobs in the past without any problems. We were able to demonstrate that the doctor’s statements were a thinly-veiled attempt to cover up the employer's desire to avoid hiring a worker it viewed (wrongly) as a liability. With the help of our attorneys, our client received an investigator’s report from the MHRC indicating there were reasonable grounds to believe that the employer conducted an unlawful medical examination and withdrew a job offer from our client.

The employer appealed the MHRC investigator’s decision and our attorneys again successfully argued on behalf of our client in front of the Maine Human Rights Commissioners at a Commissioners’ Meeting. The Commissioners agreed with the investigator's finding that there were reasonable grounds to believe that discrimination occurred. Prior to filing a complaint in the Maine Superior Court, we were able to successfully resolve the matter. Our client was pleased with the outcome.

If you or someone you know has been denied employment because of a disability please do not hesitate to contact our firm today at 207.874.0905.