Dog Kennel Company Subjected a Recovering Opioid Addict to Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charged
A dog kennel company in suburban Chicago, Rover’s Place, will pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC charged alleging that Rover’s Place subjected an employee to a hostile work environment, inquired into his medical history, and forced him to quit his job because of his opioid addiction disability.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee worked without incident at Rover’s Place until one of the owner’s learned of his past drug use. The owner then confronted the employee and in an abusive manner inquired about his history of addiction and treatment even though the employee was not currently using drugs and had not presented any issue in the workplace because of his former drug use.
Such alleged conducted violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (U.S. EEOC v. Family Futures Group, Inc. d/b/a Rover’s Place, Civil Action No. 1:21-cv-05191) in U.S. District Court for the Norther District of Illinois after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The case was litigated by Trial Attorneys Hannah Henkel and Miles Shultz and Supervisory Trial Attorney Ethan Cohen.
“We are very pleased that Rover’s Place worked collaboratively with the EEOC to craft a comprehensive settlement,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “The EEOC remains committed to ensuring that workers receiving treatment for substance use disorders can earn a living and benefit from the sense of dignity and self-worth that comes from a job well done.”
EEOC Chicago District Director Julie Bowman added, “This case reminds employers that they cannot succumb to their own fears, myths, or stereotypes regarding employees in recovery. Rover’s Place should be commended for agreeing to a consent decree early in this litigation.”
For more information on disability discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination.
Lisa Smith, SPHR, SCP
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