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Deaf applicant turned down for a job wins settlement

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals in the state of Indiana and across the country from discrimination in hiring practices and on the job. Employers are not only prohibited from discriminating against individuals due to their disabilities but also must also provide reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants at their request.

A lawsuit was filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Toys"R"Us, Inc. after they failed to accommodate a deaf applicant during an interview at its store in Columbia, Maryland. The applicant had applied for a team member position and was invited for a group interview. The applicant's mother told the store that her daughter was deaf and requested that the company provide an interpreter, but the store refused.

The EEOC had first attempted to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement before filing the lawsuit, which was based upon the company's failure to provide the applicant with reasonable accommodations for her disability and for discriminating in its hiring practices. The agency, which enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, recently announced that the company would be settling with the job applicant for $35,000. As part of the settlement, the company also will be subject to a three-year consent decree under which it must refrain from future discrimination. The retailer is also required to post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit.

Toys"R"Us will now provide training on the ADA to its managerial and supervisory employees at the Columbia store in addition to 24 other stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania about non-discriminatory interviewing and hiring practices. An EEOC district director stated that this case should remind employers that hiring decisions should be based on an individual's qualifications and that the ADA requires the provision of reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants who request one.

Source: EEOC, "Toys"R"Us Will Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit", October 29, 2013

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