February 27, 2002
On Wednesday, February 27, at 10 a.m., the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in Chevron U.S.A. v. Mario Echazabal. Lambda AIDS Project Director Catherine Hanssens, author of Lambdas public health brief, will be available for comment after the hearing.
The ADA says that a person with a disability who is qualified for a job and doesnt pose a threat to anybody else has the right to work, said Hanssens. She added, Chevron claims they denied Mr. Echazabal work for his own good, but the experts unanimously agreed that any threat of liver disease to Echazabal from chemicals in the refinery would be a danger to all employees.
The ADA allows employers to exclude workers with disabilities when their disability poses a direct threat to others that cant be addressed through a reasonable accommodation. Lambda maintains that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not allow the exclusion of skilled workers for their own good when the employer thinks a worker may face a future health risk as a consequence of the job.
Echazabal had worked for a contractor in Chevrons El Segundo, California, oil refinery for approximately 20 years. When Echazabal applied to work directly for Chevron, it offered him a job -- but withdrew it when Echazabals pre-employment tests showed elevated liver enzymes even though Echazabal had worked with his liver condition without incident for years.
The ADA and worker safety policies require employers to safeguard the health of all of their employees, Hanssens said. Chevron instead chooses to focus on getting rid of employees when medical screening shows some defect. Are we really supposed to think thats about protecting employees, and not about discrimination?
What: Oral argument in Chevron v. Echazabal, an ADA case
Who: Lambda AIDS Project Director Catherine Hanssens is available for comment after hearing
Where: United States Supreme Court, One First Street, Washington, D.C. (Chevron v. Echazabal, No. 00-1406)
When: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 at 10:00 a.m.
Contact: Jennifer Grissom 212-809-8585 x 231, 888-987-1976 (pager)
Catherine Hanssens 212-809-8585 x 215