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EEOC Resolves Discrimination Lawsuit Claiming Employer Refused To Hire Deaf Job Applicant

disability discrimination

Having litigated employment discrimination in Florida courts for more than two decades, our Citrus County, Florida employment lawyers know job applicants with a disability continue to endure systemic discrimination. In far too many cases, our Inverness, Florida employment attorneys have learned, employers refuse to hire disabled job applicants after learning of their disability. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida employment lawyers explain how a disability discrimination lawsuit recently settled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) illustrates that federal employment discrimination law prohibits employers from failing or refusing to hire a disabled job applicant on the basis of disability.

Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

In a press release issued on July 29, 2021, the EEOC announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree resolving a disability discrimination lawsuit against Crothall Healthcare, Inc. (Crothall). On August 20, 2020, the EEOC filed the disability discrimination lawsuit, U.S. E.E.O.C. v. Crothall Healthcare, Inc. Case No. 4:20-cv-190, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. In the Consent Decree, which was signed by the U.S. District Court Judge on July 28, 2021, Crothall agreed to pay $37,500 to resolve the disability discrimination lawsuit.

The EEOC brought the disability discrimination lawsuit pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, on behalf of an individual who applied for employment with Crothall, a man named Pack (Pack). Under the ADA, employers are forbidden from discriminating against job applicants and employees on the basis of disability. The ADA further mandates that employers reasonably accommodate job applicants and employees with a disability. The EEOC maintains that Crothall discriminated against Pack in violation of the ADA by failing to hire him because of his disability.

Discriminatory Failure To Hire Alleged

Crothall provides laundry and linen services to hospitals. On September 15, 2017, Pack applied for a position as a laundry services worker at Crothall’s facility in Rome, Georgia. The EEOC contends that Pack is a disabled individual within the meaning of the ADA because he suffers from cerebral palsy and deafness. After Pack submitted his job application, the plant manager of the Rome facility asked Pack to come to the facility for an on-site interview.

On September 25, 2017, Pack appeared for the designated on-site interview with a sign language interpreter. During the interview and plant tour, the manager handling the hiring process on behalf of Crothall observed Pack’s leg braces and ambulatory aids, and asked Pack how he “could work standing up for so long?” Pack told the manager that if he was hired, he would need a stool so that he would be able to work from a sitting position, if necessary. During the interview and plant tour, Pack attempted to give his resume to the manager, but the manager refused to accept a copy of Pack’s resume. Following the interview and plant tour, Pack was not offered employment by Corthall. As a result, Pack repeatedly contacted Corthall until the beginning of October 2017 to inquire about the statues of his job application.

On October 12, 2017, Pack’s job coach through the Georgia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing contacted the plant manager on Pack’s behalf. The plant manager told Pack’s job coach that he wanted Pack to participate in a video conference on October 16, 2017. During the video conference, the plant manager asked Pack questions about his ability to perform the physical duties of the laundry services worker position and his request for a stool, including who bought the stool for Pack during his prior employment. Pack informed the plant manager that he was capable of performing the physical duties of the laundry services worker position and that his prior employer had purchased a stool for him to use at work.

Non-Disabled Applicants Hired

On October 19, 2017, the plant manager left Pack a voice mail message stating that all positions had been filled and that even if Pack was hired, the company would not be able to pay him its customary wage rate for the laundry services worker position. One week later, the plant manager left another voice mail message with Pack stating that the position Pack was seeking had been filled and that the company would send Pack a request to re-apply when a position became available. Corthall, according to the EEOC, never contacted Pack again.

The EEOC contends that despite claiming that the company had filled the position sought by Pack and would contact pack when the position became available, Crothall hired more than eighty non-disabled laundry service workers between September 2017 and May 2018. The EEOC further maintains that a laundry services worker position was available at the Rome facility from September 26, 2017 through November 10, 2017. Thus, the EEOC contends that Crothall could have hired Pack at any time after giving him an interview and plant tour.

Attorneys For Discrimination Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the federal government responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal employment discrimination law. As part of its administrative and enforcement machinery, the EEOC has the statutory authority to file lawsuits on behalf job applicants and employees subjected to unlawful discriminatory employment practices, including disability discrimination.

In a press release issued on July 29, 2021 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, Marcus G. Keegan, observed that “an employer cannot legally refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of his disability.” In commenting on the case, the Director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, Darrell Graham, stated that the “EEOC is committed to seeking relief for those who suffered disability discrimination in the workplace.”

Citrus County, FL Employment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Central Florida, our Citrus County, Florida employment attorneys have represented employment discrimination victims for more than twenty years. If you have experienced workplace discrimination or have questions about your rights as an employment discrimination victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Inverness, Florida employment 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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