Posts Tagged ‘refusal to hire’

88K Settlement for the EEOC in ADA Suit Against An Idaho Store That Refused to Hire Deaf Worker

There’s been a rash lately of employers who don’t know how to handle deaf people who apply for open jobs.

An Idaho-based convenience store chain, Jacksons Food Stores, Inc., will pay $88,000 and hire a deaf worker as well as provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced September 7.

The EEOC lawsuit charged that Jacksons refused to interview Nathaniel Prugh because of his deafness. After applying online for a position at the company’s Sammamish, Wash., store, Prugh was selected for an interview based on his qualifications and experience working similar jobs. However, once he explained that he was deaf and would need an interpreter, the store manager balked and refused to give him that opportunity, the EEOC said.

Rejecting a qualified applicant because of disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (EEOC v. Jacksons Food Stores, Inc., Case No. 2:17-CV-01285) after an investigation by EEOC Investigator Elizabeth Kidd and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“My being deaf does not prevent me from being a qualified worker with much to contribute,” said Prugh. “I’m excited to show Jacksons what a valuable contribution I can make to its team.”

The five-year consent decree settling the lawsuit provides Prugh with a job and $88,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages. The decree also requires Jacksons to train staff regarding hiring and reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The company will also implement and disseminate a modified ADA policy, and will post a notice for employees about the consent decree and their rights under the ADA.

“Congress enacted the ADA to ensure that employers evaluate candidates based on individual merit rather than assumptions about what people with disabilities can or cannot do,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney May Che. “This settlement helps ensure that qualified workers like Mr. Prugh have a level playing field and can participate in the workforce to their fullest ability.”

Nancy Sienko, director for the Seattle Field Office, added, “We are very pleased with the outcome of this lawsuit. We commend Jacksons for its commitment to its obligations under the law and for working with the EEOC and Mr. Prugh to provide him the opportunity he deserves.”

According to its website, http://www.jacksons.com, Jacksons Foods is one of the largest privately held corporations in Idaho, operating over 230 Chevron-, Shell-, and Texaco-branded convenience stores in six Western states, with over 3,000 employees.

Eliminating barriers in hiring, including hiring practices that discriminate against people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

$45K Settlement Against Rental Car Co. That EEOC Charged Wouldn’t Hire Applicant Because He Used Cane

This is one candidate rejection that maybe this employer wishes it could take back.

The Hertz Corporation has agreed to pay $45,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Hertz actively recruited Norman “Dan” Newton for a sales position in its car sales division in Denver after spotting his resume online. Newton agreed to meet with the local sales manager for an interview. At the interview, according to the EEOC, the Hertz manager expressed reservations about Newton’s mobility because he used a cane. The manager later informed Newton that despite his competitive qualifications, which included over ten years of car sales experience, Hertz hired two other people. Both of those individuals possessed significantly less car sales experience than Newton, and one of them had never previously sold cars, according to the EEOC.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects applicants and employees from discrimination, including refusal to hire, because of a disability, a record of a disability, or because they are regarded as disabled. The EEOC filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. The Hertz Corporation, Case No. 1:17-cv-02298-KMT) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree resolving the case requires Hertz to pay $45,000 to Newton and provide him with an apology. In addition, the decree requires Hertz to adopt and maintain policies and practices that will provide its employees a workplace free of disability discrimination in the future and that will encourage employees to report discriminatory conduct. The company will also provide training to employees at its Hertz Car Sales facilities in Colorado on preventing disability-related discrimination. Hertz also agreed to post a notice in these Colorado facilities notifying employees of the provisions of the ADA and their right to a work environment free of disability discrimination.

“Employers must focus their hiring efforts on whether employees have the skills, abilities and qualifications needed for the position, and not on any real or imaginary disabilities,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District.

Elizabeth Cadle, district director for the EEOC’s Phoenix District, which includes Denver in its jurisdiction, added, “We commend Hertz for working with the EEOC to promptly resolve this matter within less than six months of the filing of the lawsuit.”

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and part of New Mexico.

Car Dealership Pays $45K to Settle ADA Suit Over Withdrawal of Job Offer to Prescription Drug User

Employers’  blanket refusal to hire anyone who has used prescription drugs is a surefire route to the courthouse.

A car dealership in Arizona is the latest employer to make the mistake of having a no-exceptions policy to lawful drug use.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that Bell-Arrow Automotive, Inc. and Bell Leasing, Inc. located in Scottsdale, Arizona, have agreed to pay $45,000 to settle the commission’s ADA lawsuit against them.

In this ADA suit filed in August 2016, the EEOC charged the companies violated federal law when they rescinded a job offer made to an individual after a pre-employment drug test revealed a prescription drug used to treat a disability.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the companies refused to hire an applicant to work at a dealership in Scottsdale because of her disability and her need for a reasonable accommodation.

The lawsuit charged that Bell-Arrow Automotive, Inc., doing business as Bell Lexus, and Bell Leasing, Inc., doing business as The Berge Group, had a policy of refusing to employ any applicant who tested positive for substances on a list maintained by Bell Lexus and The Berge Group. Bell Lexus and The Berge Group allegedly extended a job offer to one woman to work as a salesperson, but rescinded the offer when her drug test came back positive.

According to the EEOC, the applicant explained that the substance was legally prescribed to treat a disability; it would not affect her ability to perform the duties of the job; she would provide proof that the substance was legally prescribed; and she was willing to try a different medication. Bell Lexus and The Berge Group refused the offer of proof of the prescription and the offer to change medications, the EEOC said. Instead, the companies refused to hire her.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the defendants agreed not to discriminate in the future against applicants with disabilities and not to administer any drug test to a job applicant prior to a conditional job offer. Bell Lexus and The Berge Group also committed to training their managers, supervisors, and human resources personnel on the ADA and to reviewing their employment discrimination policies.

“While drug testing is permitted in some contexts, it cannot be used to discriminate against people with disabilities,” said EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “Communicating with job applicants about drug test results before jumping to wrong conclusions is an important part of the interactive process that is required under federal law.”

“Blanket exclusion policies based on drug test results harm job applicants and employers. The ADA requires a case-by-case evaluation of applicants with disabilities to make sure employers assess these applicants on their merits,” said EEOC Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle.

Trucking Co. Pays $65K to Settle ADA Suit Brought on Behalf of Driver With Amputated Arm

The Americans With Disabilities Act doesn’t allow an employer to assume, without evidence or proof, that no accommodation is possible that would allow an employee with a disability to perform the particular job safely.

That’s the lesson of a settlement that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached with an Amarillo, Texas-based fuel transport company that refused to hire a truck driver applicant who had had his arm amputated.

The EEOC filed this ADA lawsuit on behalf of Robert Kallgren because he had had his arm amputated during his teenage years. Kallgren had more than 20 years of experience driving trucks when he applied to work for Flying Star. The company made an assess­ment, without evidence or proof, that there was no accommodation that would allow Kallgren to do the job safely, and failed to engage in an interactive process of exploring that with him.

Tbe EEOC announced on April 26 that the company has settled the case for $65,000.

EEOC Sues Employer Alleging It Withdrew Job Offer Because Applicant Used a Wheelchair

ed A Texas company faces accusations that it violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by withdrawing a job offer to an employee because he uses a wheelchair.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Mobile Destination, Inc., a mobile phone retailer which operates 30 Verizon Wireless stores in Texas, unlawfully revoked a worker’s job offer because of his disability.

Mobile offered the applicant the job after he passed a preemployment background check and drug test. But when the hiring manager told the company vice president, the vice president told him the company wouldn’t hire the applicant. The hiring manager assured the vice president that the applicant didn’t have any trouble moving around the office in his wheelchair, but the vice president insisted that the applicant wasn’t going to be hired.

According to the lawsuit, “The Mobile Destination corporate office instructed lower management not to answer Davis’s calls, and that if Davis came to the store to inquire about his employment, he should be told that the company had “promoted from within.”

Read more about the lawsuit.

 

EEOC Sues N.C. Restaurant for Refusing to Hire HIV-Positive Applicant For Food Server Job

Restaurants do not have the right to deny employment to HIV-positive job applicants because solely on assumptions that they can’t work safely around food.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit against a restaurant in North Carolina charging it with refusing to hire an applicant for a server position because he was HIV positive.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the guilty party is Sappyann, Inc., which operates Yesterday’s Pub & Grille restaurant in Sanford, N.C.  The EEOC says the employer discriminated against a man who applied for the server’s job after receiving a medical discharge from the military. When confronted about that by management, the man said he was HIV positive.

He tried to persuade the management that it was safe for him to work in the food industry despite his HIV-status, but it refused to hire him.

Today’s announcement of the filing of the lawsuit is here.

DOJ Docks Calif. County in ADA Settlement

The coffers of Riverside County, California, are $50,000 lighter due to the county’s settlement of an Americans With Disabilities Act employment discrimination case filed against it by the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to DOJ, the county failed to hire a probation officer applicant because he has epilepsy.  The job applicant was qualified for and could perform the job duties associated with the position, but the county withdrew his offer of employment solely because of his controlled epilepsy, the complaint alleged.

Besides paying the applicant $50,000, the county must offer him the position as a probation officer under the terms of the settlement, the DOJ October 8 announcement said.

Refusal to employ qualified individuals with disabilities, including epilepsy, because of their disability cannot be tolerated by workers in our country and will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.

The DOJ enforces the ADA’s employment discrimination provisions against local governments.

Here’s the announcement, which contains a link to the settlement document.