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Amtrak accused of workplace discrimination by a man with epilepsy

Millions of people in Florida and elsewhere are faced with health conditions such as epilepsy. Those who have successfully been treated and have their doctor's permission to be able to work should not be prevented from having a job for which they are qualified based on preconceived notions about their disabilities. Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act should prohibit workplace discrimination against the disabled, violations can still occur.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has brought a discrimination case against Amtrak in a federal court because the company allegedly rescinded a job offer because the applicant has epilepsy. The plaintiff applied to work as a machinist journeyman, and he was close to being hired until his condition was discovered. His neurologist had made it known to Amtrak that the man had not had seizures for years and that he could perform his job duties.

Amtrak took back the offer because of concerns over the plaintiff's own safety should he have a seizure. The regional attorney of the EEOC commented that that Amtrak was in violation of the law because it refused to hire a qualified applicant who has his condition under control. A director from the agency also commented that it is crucial that employers should make hiring decisions based on the qualifications of the applicant and not on their disabilities.

A spokeswoman for Amtrak wrote in an email that the company abides by employment statutes and does not discriminate against applicants with medical conditions. Individuals in Florida with disabilities who perceive they are being victimized during the hiring process or upon employment can bring their complaints forward. Workplace discrimination lawsuits such as these are a constant reminder that discrimination is against the law and will not be tolerated.

Source:, "Feds sue Amtrak over employee discrimination", Keith Laing, Aug. 13, 2015

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