Woman Says Hospital Denied Reasonable Accommodations in Hiring

A woman who applied for a position as a hospital administrator says that she was unfairly denied the job after she "failed" a urine sample test because she good not take it. The employer should have given her more time to complete the mandatory drug testing as an accommodation for her shy bladder problems, which she says amount to a disability under the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Under the ADA employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees or job applicants who have a disability. Reasonableness is generally measured by whether the accommodation puts a heavy burden on the employer. 

The woman was offered a job at the hospital and told to arrive in three days to complete a drug test via a urine sample. The woman had been diagnosed as a teenager with an anxiety condition that made it difficult or impossible for her to use public restrooms, one which she was able to work around most of the time using some basic techniques like running water or using single-stall restrooms. 

In this case, the woman says that she was unable to provide a urine sample because she was unable to run water at the time and because nurses frequently knocked on the door, increasing her level of anxiety and making it more difficult to provide a sample.

The lawsuit was brought under a 2009 change to the ADA that focuses the inquiry on what the employer could have done to accommodate the employee, rather than the specifics of the employee's disability. 

Source: USA Today. "Shy bladder syndrome leads to lawsuit," Jeff Eckhoff, April 26, 2013.