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Disabled Worker Told Not To “Waste Your Time” Applying For Promotion EEOC Lawsuit Charges

Disability Discrimination claim form and pen.

In a press release issued on September 14, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Red Roof Inns, Inc. (Red Roof). On September 14, 2020, the EEOC filed the case, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Red Roof Inns, Inc.,Case No. 3:20-cv-00381, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio after first providing Red Roof with an opportunity to remedy the alleged disability-based discriminatory employment practices through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. Conciliation efforts having failed, the EEOC elected to address the alleged disability-based discriminatory employment practices by filing the lawsuit.

The EEOC has filed the disability discrimination lawsuit pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on behalf of an employee of Red Roof, Wesley Derby (Derby). The ADA forbids employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of disability. The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. The EEOC claims that Red Roof violated the ADA by denying Derby promotion because of his disability. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida employment discrimination lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against Red Roof.

Alleged Discriminatory Failure To Promote

In May 2018, Derby worked as a Guest Relations Specialist for Red Roof. In this position, Derby reported to Red Roof’s corporate contact center in Springfield, Ohio. Derby is visually impaired and worked from home with the aid of Jobs Access With Speech (JAWS) system.

On May 2, 2018, Red Roof appraised its employees of the opportunity for promotion to Property Connectivity Coordinator with the Online Connectivity Team and attend an Online Connectivity Information Seminar where employees could get a better understanding of the position. That same day, Derby sent an email to Red Roof requesting a reasonable accommodation to attend the seminar via Skype or any remote method and expressing his interest in possibly applying for the Property Connectivity Coordinator position.

The next day, an Online Connectivity Supervisor emailed Derby in response and told him that the company was unable to accommodate him by offering the seminar through Skype because “they would like to get the bugs worked out before we offer it via Skype.” The Online Connectivity Supervisor further told Derby that “the systems that we work with do not integrate with the JAWS system, so we are not able to accommodate as far as hiring . . . I just don’t want you to waste your time if you were looking to apply.” Due to the email from the Online Connectivity Supervisor, Derby did not participate in the information seminar and did not submit a formal application for the position.

The EEOC claims that Derby was “fully qualified” for the Property Connectivity Coordinator position had an accommodation been provided. Despite his qualifications for the position, the EEOC maintains, Red Roof failed to accommodate Derby to allow for his participation in the information seminar and to allow for his participation in the application process. Instead of accommodating Derby, the EEOC contends, Red Roof hired a non-visually impaired individual for the Property Connectivity Coordinator position on May 30, 2018. The EEOC claims that Red Roof denied Derby the promotion because of his disability and need for an accommodation.

Discrimination Victims’ Rights

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal employment laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In enforcing the federal employment laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to file lawsuits on behalf of employment discrimination victims. In a press release issued by the EEOC on September 14, 2020 regarding the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office, Michelle Eisele, explained that “denying a promotional opportunity to a qualified visually impaired employee solely because of his disability is illegal, and it should be.” In commenting on the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office, Kenneth L. Bird, stated that “protecting the employee’s right to receive a reasonable accommodation to apply for promotion is central to the EEOC’s mission.”

Lecanto, FL Employment Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida employment discrimination attorneys have been fighting against discriminatory employment practices for more than twenty years. If you have been discriminated against in the workplace or have questions about your rights as an employment discrimination victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Lecanto, Florida employment discrimination lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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