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Job Applicant Denied Employment Because Employer Regarded Him As Disabled EEOC Lawsuit Alleges

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In a press release issued on October 9, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Jordan Carriers, Inc. (Jordan Carriers). On October 8, 2020, the EEOC filed the case, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Jordan Carriers, Inc.,Case No. 5:20-cv-00191, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi after attempting to resolve the case through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. Unable to settle the case through conciliation, the EEOC has endeavored to remedy the alleged unlawful employment practices through litigation.

The EEOC has filed the disability discrimination lawsuit pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on behalf of an individual who applied for employment with Jordan Carriers, Torrence Haley (Haley). The ADA makes discrimination on the basis of disability an unlawful employment practice. In forbidding disability-based discrimination, the ADA also prohibits employers from refusing to hire job applicants on the basis of disability. The EEOC contends that Jordan Carriers discriminated against Haley in violation of the ADA by refusing to hire him because of his disability within the meaning of the ADA. In this article, our Ocala, Florida labor law attorneys explain the EEOC’s allegations against Jordan Carriers.

Discriminatory Failure To Hire Alleged

On September 24, 2017, Haley completed an online application for an over-the-road truck driver position with Jordan Carriers. Haley, according to the EEOC, possessed the requisite qualifications for the position. Jordan Carriers offered Haley the position contingent upon completion of a pre-employment screening, including a physical examination, to be conducted at Jordan Carriers’ facility.

During his pre-employment screening on October 1, 2017, Haley informed Jordan Carriers that he had suffered a back injury approximately fourteen years ago. Immediately after he disclosed his prior back injury, Haley was called into the office where a Jordan Carrier employee told him that he would not be hired because of his past medical history. Haley asked the employee three times that he be allowed to undergo a physical examination to prove his capabilities and fitness for the job, but the employee refused, stating: “we have enough information to make a judgment” and “the company does not want to take a chance on you.” The employee then told Haley to leave, rescinding the company’s conditional offer of employment after learning of Haley’s prior back injury.

Under the ADA, job applicants and employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of disability when they have an actual disability. The ADA also protects job applicants and employees from discrimination on the basis of disability even when they do not not have an actual disability, but the employee nonetheless regards or perceives them as disabled. In other words, an individual who does not have a disability is still protected from disability-based discrimination when the employer regards or perceives the individual as having a disability.

The EEOC contends that Haley’s prior back injury does not constitute an actual disability within the meaning of the ADA. Instead, the EEOC claims that Haley’s prior back injury qualifies him for protection under the ADA because Jordan Carriers regarded him as disabled because of his prior back injury. Having regarded Haley as disabled based on his prior back injury, the EEOC maintains, Jordan Carriers refused to hire him because of his perceived disability.

Fighting For Employee Rights

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal labor laws making discrimination, harassment, and retaliation unlawful employment practices. In order to facilitate the elimination of unlawful employment practices from the American workplace, the EEOC brings lawsuits on behalf of job applicants and employees who have been unlawfully discriminated against in violation of the federal labor laws. In a press release issued by the EEOC on October 9, 2020 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, Marsha Rucker, stated that the “ADA requires that people with disabilities be evaluated on their ability to perform the job, not on stereotypes or assumptions.” “An employer cannot assume an applicant is incapable of performing the job duties based on applicant’s medical history,” Ms. Rucker explained, “but is required by law to make the assessment based on his or her present abilities.”

Ocala, FL Labor Law Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida labor law attorneys have litigated labor law cases in Florida courts for more than two decades. If your employee rights have been violated or you have questions about your rights as an employee under the federal labor laws, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida labor law lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes labor law 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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