Leonel v. American Airlines, Inc., 400 F.3d 702 (9th Cir. 2005)

Walber Leonel and two other individuals applied for flight attendant positions with American Airlines. Plaintiffs were interviewed in Dallas and received conditional offers of employment, contingent upon their passing background checks and medical examinations. Although none of the applicants disclosed his HIV-positive status or related medications, American conducted tests on the blood samples obtained during the examinations, discovered the applicants’ HIV status and then rescinded the job offers, citing the applicants’ failure to disclose information during the medical examinations. Although the district court granted American’s motion for summary judgment of plaintiffs’ claims for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Constitution’s right to privacy, and the Unfair Competition Law, the Ninth Circuit reversed. The appellate court held that the medical examinations were improperly premature since none of the plaintiffs had yet passed his background check when the examinations were conducted. Furthermore, the court held that American may have violated the applicants’ privacy by performing blood tests outside of the ordinary or accepted medical practice regarding general or pre-employment medical exams.