Dismissal of sex and disability discrimination claim is over-turned; case is reinstated
In Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance, the terminated employee sued, arguing that she was fired in retaliation for refusing to attend "counseling" ordered by her employer. She had earlier filed a sex discrimination and disability discrimination claim with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the EEOC. She was issued a "right to sue" letter, however, the Federal District Court judge dismissed her claim. The judge held that simply requiring Kroll to attend counseling did not constitute an illegal medical examination which would be prohibited by the ADA.
The Appellate Court overturned the trial judge's decision. It pointed out that under federal law, tests intended to uncover hidden personality traits or "nonvisible disabilities" are prohibited because of the potential for discrimination. Under the circumstances of this case, with employer-ordered counseling to be provided through a psychologist, the high court concluded that the employer's actions constituted a clear violation of the ADA and of a public policy that prohibits employers from conducting psychiatric "witch hunts" of their employees.