Senior living chain sued for disability discrimination

Brookdale Senior Living operates more than 1,000 retirement communities across the U.S., including several around Wisconsin and one in a Milwaukee suburb. Though the country’s largest senior living company touts its ability to accommodate residents with physical limitations, it is accused of being much less hospitable to a job applicant with a disability.

A disability discrimination lawsuit recently filed against Brookdale alleges that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during its hiring process.

In 2015, the plaintiff applied for a full-time job as a server and was offered the position. The offer was contingent on a physical exam and drug test, however.

The prospective employee was born with a physical impairment affecting her bladder and ability to urinate. Reconstructive surgery allowed her to provide a urine sample for the drug screening, though it had to be via an abdominal stoma.

The lawsuit states that Brookdale “denied the applicant’s request for a reasonable accommodation, subjected her to extensive and invasive questioning about her disability and then rescinded their job offer” because they considered her drug test failed, though no urine sample had been taken.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says Brookdale violated the ADA in two ways:

  • The law prohibits employers from rejecting qualified job applicants because of disabilities
  • The ADA requires employers to consider reasonable accommodations for job applicants with disabilities

Brookdale rejects the allegations and says it does not discriminate against employees or applicants with disabilities.

If you have been denied a job, raise, promotion or other employment benefit because of a disability, contact the Milwaukee law offices of Alan C. Olson and Associates to speak to a qualified employment law attorney about your legal options.


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