Baltimore Settles ADA Claim With Justice Department

The City of Baltimore has settled a case brought by the United States Department of Justice challenging hiring practices that the DOJ claims discriminate against people with disabilities.

The suit was brought on behalf of a woman who was given a conditional offer of employment as a fire dispatcher that was revoked following a medical examination conducted by a contracted doctor from Mercy Medical Center. According to the complaint, doctors concluded she had medical conditions that “require she work in a low stress environment.” The city relied upon the doctor’s opinion in denying her employment.

In a press release issued today, Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran was quoted as saying “The Justice Department will not tolerate discriminatory, outdated stereotypes that prevent individuals with disabilities from being hired for positions for which they are qualified.”

The city agreed to pay $65,000 to the victim, adopt new policies for pre-employment medical examinations and inquiries, provide training on the ADA to employees who make personnel decisions, and ensure that the any medical professional used by the city is required to comply with the ADA in conducting medical examinations. The city also agreed to designate an employee to address ADA compliance matters and provide periodic reports to the DOJ on compliance.

Here is a copy of the consent decree. Consent Decree: United States v. City of Baltimore, Maryland

It must still be approved by the US District Court judge assigned to the case.

Here is the DOJ’s press release.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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