November 8, 2017 / 10:35 PM / 2 years ago

Con Edison to improve hiring, pay $800,000 to settle U.S. lawsuit

A Con Edison company flag is seen in New York July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Con Edison will improve its hiring and training practices and pay $800,000 to settle a U.S. lawsuit claiming it discriminated against disabled employees, and wrongly required job applicants to undergo medical examinations and provide genetic information of family members before being hired.

Settlement terms were described in a three-year consent decree between the utility and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which won approval on Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan.

Con Ed denied wrongdoing. The utility, whose full name is Consolidated Edison Inc, provides electric and gas service in New York City and neighboring Westchester County, and employed roughly 15,000 people at year end.

“While we believe that our hiring and employment practices comply with the law, we have implemented improvements in our processes and practices, and are happy to be moving forward,” Con Ed said in a statement.

The decree includes an injunction that blocks Con Ed from conditioning job offers on medical examinations or imposing medical restrictions on employees, with exceptions to ensure workplace health and safety.

Most of the $800,000 will go toward back pay and damages for people subjected to reduced hours, demotions, terminations and other harm from past Con Ed discrimination, court papers show.

In its Sept. 27 complaint, the EEOC had accused Con Ed of violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

The case is EEOC v Consolidated Edison Co of New York Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-07390.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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