Idaho property management company owes $22K to employee fired over medication
Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman
Published at | Updated at
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — A Boise property management company must pay more than $22,000 to a former employee after reportedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says.
The EEOC said it has settled an August lawsuit against Verity Property Management, Inc. for discriminating against an employee whom it did not name. The company will also “make substantial changes to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit,” the agency said in a news release.
The agency said Friday that it found in an investigation that Verity had violated the ADA when it discriminated against an employee based on disability or perceived disability.
The EEOC said Verity found an applicant for an administrative assistant position so well-qualified that the company instead offered the woman a job as a leasing agent. On her first day at work, results from a drug test showed the employee used medication prescribed to her for a medical condition. That reportedly concerned Verity officials, who worried that side effects of the medication could affect the woman’s ability to do her job. They asked her why she had not disclosed her usage of the medication, the EEOC report said.
“On her second day, Verity terminated her without further inquiry or discussion, even though she did not experience such side effects from her medication and was well able to perform her job duties,” the report said.
The $22,500 will go to the terminated employee for lost wages and compensatory damages.
“The ADA does not prohibit screening to prevent illegal drug abuse. However, a ‘drug-free’ workplace policy should not lead to denying employment opportunity to a worker lawfully using prescription medication to treat a medical condition,” said EEOC senior trial attorney May Che in the news release.
According to its website, Verity provides management services at commercial spaces and retail centers, as well as multi-family residential complexes and individually-owned properties.
The company has 23 employees in Idaho, EEOC said.
“We commend Verity, which was recently acquired by new ownership, for demonstrating its commitment to discrimination prevention under its new leadership,” said Nancy Sienko, EEOC’s Seattle field director, in the release.