Dallas refrigerated transport company, Stevens Transport settled a disability discrimination suit brought by the EEOC by paying $50,000 and making accommodations, reports EmployerBrief.com. The EEOC brought the lawsuit for the benefit of Andrew Scott, a paraplegic since 2003, who was denied two management positions at Stevens because of his disability.
Scott was a well-qualified candidate for management with a bachelor's degree in economics and management, and a master's degree in business administration, reports EmployerBrief. Scott was interviewed over the telephone and then invited to the company's offices for a follow up. Instead of going to trial, Stevens transport chose to settle. Read on to find out how to avoid an EEOC suit.
At the follow up interview, Stevens became aware of Scott's disability and the company representative told him that there was concern he would not be able to keep up with the pace of operations.
The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against certain groups in the hiring and employment process. The EEOC has the power to investigate discrimination on its own, as it recently did in Massachusetts with the Marylou's coffee chain. It also takes cases that are referred to it by individuals.
To avoid EEOC scrutiny, there are some steps that should be taken by a business. For instance, a business should be sure to not have any discriminatory policies. These include any sort of hiring guidelines that require certain types of people to be turned away from jobs at your company.
A business should also be sure to avoid the appearance of discrimination. For example, when you let someone go from your business, make sure that it is documented why you are terminating their employment. Even if there is a clear reason for termination, an employee may be upset and have the impression that they were singled out.
Concerning disabilities, a company should have flexibility in making accommodations for those with disabilities. One way would be to choose an office space that is already ADA compliant.
Finally, be sure to have policies in place so that managers are careful with what they say. Even if the company is not discriminating, if a supervisor makes discriminatory comments, they could be used against the company in a discrimination suit.
Let the Stevens Transport settlement be a good example of why accommodating disabilities makes good business sense.
- Connect with a Houston Employment Attorney (FindLaw)
- EEOC: Top Five Discrimination Charges Sued Over in Texas (Houston Employment Law Blog)
- Severe Obesity is an ADA-Protected Impairment (Houston Employment Law Blog)
- Stevens Transport to Pay $50,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit (Disability.gov)