EnergyConsolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Ed), the utility giant that provides all electrical and gas service for the resident and business owners of New York City and Westchester County, will resolve a disability discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to the tune of $800,000 and other relief the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s complaint reads that Con Ed doctors refused to medically approve qualified applicants to begin employment because of disabilities, even though the applicant were able to perform the designated job for which they applied. The complaint also states that Con Ed company doctors imposed improper medical restrictions on some existing employees with disabilities that reduced their earnings and in one case led to termination. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)discrimination in hiring and terms and conditions of employment based on disability is prohibited. Refusing to hire applicants due to their disability even though their disability in no way restricts them from performing the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Also, an employer may not ask applicants disability-related questions and may not conduct medical examinations until after it makes a conditional job offer to the applicant. The EEOC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (EEOC v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York, INc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-7390), after first attempting to reach a settlement prior to litigation through its conciliation process.

According to the consent decree settling the suit, Con Ed will pay the job applicants and employees who were discriminated against $800,000 in lost wages and damages. The decree also requires that Con Ed give a conditional job offer before it conducts any pre-hire medical examinations. According to the decree, Con Ed must make an individualized assessment of each applicant’s ability to perform the job and will raise the threshold for its doctors to place disability-related restrictions on applicants and employees.

“The EEOC appreciates Con Ed’s willingness to resolve this case without protracted litigation,” said Jeffrey Burstein, the EEOC’s regional attorney for the New York District Office. “The agency remains committed to enforcing federal law to ensure that people with disabilities do not face discriminatory barriers to full and equal participation in the workforce.”

Director of the New York District Office of the EEOC Kevin Berry said, “Congress passed the ADA to protect Americans with disabilities from adverse employment actions based on fears and myths about their conditions. We applaud Con Ed’s willingness to change its hiring procedures to ensure that disabled applicants are given a fair and equal opportunity to work for them.”The EEOC’s New York Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

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