EEOC Sues on Behalf of Paraplegic Job Applicant Denied Customer Service Support Job

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit on behalf of a job applicant who it says was denied employment with a customer service support provider because she is a paraplegic.

The applicant had applied for a job with Asurion, LLC, a customer service support provider for electronic devices, its former Meridian, Miss., location.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Lakisha Person applied for a customer care representa­tive position online. After reviewing her application, Asurion telephoned Person to discuss her interest in and avail­ability for a position at its Meridian location.

According to the EEOC, when the Asurion interviewer learned that Person was paralyzed from the waist down, the interviewer abruptly ended the interview without inquiring into her skills and relevant work experience. Asurion rejected her for the position shortly thereafter, the EEOC said.

“The ADA prohibits employers from refusing to hire qualified applicants based on myths, fears or stereotypes concerning certain impairments,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, which has jurisdiction over Alabama, most of Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida. “The applicant in this case was extremely qualified and deserved the opportunity to be judged based on her abilities instead of her impairment.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Marsha Rucker added, “Employers cannot refuse employment to a person simply because she has a disability. The EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure that they have access to the same opportunities for advancement in the workplace as anyone else.”

The EEOC filed the lawsuit on May 4.

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