Employer Out $110K in ADA Settlement Over Refusal to Hire, Accommodate Two Deaf Persons

A Texas cellphone repair facility will pay $110,000 to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit stemming from its alleged denial of employment to hearing-impaired applicants because of their disability, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Thursday.

In its suit, the EEOC charged that Fort Worth-based S& B Industry also violated the ADA by by denying the two applicants a reasonable accommodation during the application process.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Katelynn Baker and Tia Rice applied for jobs with S&B Industry (also doing business as Fox Conn S&B) in the company’s cellphone repair facility. During a group interview, the two women used American Sign Language to communicate with one another, and the company became aware that they were hearing-impaired. In a meeting with one of the supervisors, Baker and Rice requested that the supervisor provide written information about the positions for which they were applying. The supervisor initially complied, but then refused to continue writing information for Baker and Rice, according to the suit. Baker and Rice were then told that S&B Industry would not hire them.

“Here were two excellent candidates for hire who demonstrated a great deal of courage by coming forward to report what happened to them,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark. “We hope the settlement in this case will play a part in encouraging employers to eliminate barriers that keep deaf applicants from bringing their skills and talents to the workplace.”

To read more about the do’s and dont’s of hiring of persons with disabilities under the ADA, click here.

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