Kidney Failure Keeping You From Peeing in a Cup? The Feds Can Lend a Hand.
Filing a federal employment discrimination lawsuit is easy. All you need to offer up a not-transparently bullshit claim that you were discriminated against because of race, gender, age, disability, et cetera, is a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and to pay your filing fee. The bar is low, which helps explain why so many people do it.
Rarer are the cases in which the EEOC steps in and sues on a person's behalf. In those instances, the evidence of discrimination is so clear or the offenses are so egregious that the federal agency feels compelled to intervene.
Such is the case with Patsy Robertson. In 2011, Robertson applied for and effectively got a job as a certified nursing assistant at the Fort Worth Center of Rehabilitation. All she had to do to make it official was to undergo a quick drug screening.
That's where the problem comes in. Robertson explained that she couldn't possibly take the test -- not, the EEOC says, because she had anything to hide, but because she suffers from end-stage renal failure. That means her kidneys don't work. She is physically incapable of peeing in a cup.
Robertson volunteered to take another type of drug test, but the rehab center refused, according to the EEOC, and wound up rescinding the job offer.
On Tuesday, the EEOC filed a lawsuit on Robertson's behalf, alleging that the Fort Worth Center of Rehabilitation is engaging in unlawful employment practices and has done so with "malice or with reckless indifference" to employee rights.
The feds are asking for a permanent injunction barring the rehab center from discriminating against employees or potential employees and is seeking back pay and damages for Robertson.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.