EEOC, in ADA Lawsuit, Accuses Salvation Army of Denying Job to Mentally Challenged Applicant

The Salvation Army will have to face the music of a disability discrimination lawsuit over its alleged denial of a job to a young applicant with an intellectual disability.

The alleged violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act occurred at the Salvation Army’s story in Wasilla, Alaska – coincidentally the town that Sarah Palin was mayor of prior to being elected the state’s governor.

According to the EEOC, the Salvation Army store manager recommended hiring the applicant, who was in his early 20s, as a donation attendant in spring 2014, based on the strength of his initial interview.

This position required no prior experience and simply involved accepting and sorting goods. The young man had completed high school and a follow-up job readiness program, finished three internships at medical centers, and held a part-time job at a local church.

However, the Salvation Army requested a highly unusual second interview. Ultimately, the EEOC alleges, the organiza­tion ultimately rejected this applicant due to stereotypes about his ability to interact with the public.

“This applicant was fully capable of doing this entry-level job,” said Nancy Sienko, director of EEOC’s Seattle Field Office. “Being judged by his disability instead of his actual abilities and accomplishments was a big blow to a young person at the start of his job search – and disadvantaged the Salvation Army as well.”

Read more about the lawsuit filed today.

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