EEOC v. Product Fabricators, Inc., No. 11-1241 (8th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The EEOC alleged that under Product Fabricators' drug policy, Product Fabricators made unlawful medical inquiries of employees, failed to keep confidential their medical information, and discharged a shear operator employee because of his disability and/or as a result of an unlawful application of the drug policy - all in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12112(a). The district court subsequently rejected a proposed decree to ensure compliance with the ADA on the ground that the EEOC did not identify a basis for the court to continue jurisdiction over the case for two years. The court concluded that the district court gave no consideration to the strong preference for settlement agreements as a means of protecting the federal interest in employment discrimination cases, or to the fact that jurisdiction was a usual component of such agreements, in part due to its deterrent effect. The district court also improperly gave significant weight to Product Fabricators' contention that its acts of discrimination were insufficiently widespread to justify continuing jurisdiction in the face of the EEOC's allegations. As a result, the district court did not explain why continuing jurisdiction was not fair, reasonable, and adequate, and thus abused its discretion.