Powerlink Facilities Management agreed to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit for $25,000.
Unfortunately, instances of discrimination happen quite frequently across the country on a daily basis. From racial and gender discrimination to age and disability discrimination, it happens more often than many would like to admit. For example, one Michigan-based company recently agreed to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. Powerlink Facilities Management Services will pay $25,000 to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In addition to the funds, the management and maintenance services company also plans to provide other relief and will improve training for its staff.
Why was the suit filed in the first place, though? According to the suit, Powerlink “violated federal law by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a deaf employee” when it used training videos during employee orientation. “Instead of providing the employee with an accommodation to participate in the orientation, Powerlink claimed she could not complete the process because its videos did not have closed-captioning for the hearing-impaired,” the suit states. Because of that, “the employee was unable to complete the orientation and start work for about two months.”
The suit alleged that the company’s conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s important to note, however, that prior to filing the lawsuit, the EEOC first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Those efforts failed, however.
“Failing to provide deaf applicants or employees a reasonable accommodation violates the ADA. Powerlink should be commended for agreeing to this consent decree and taking steps to resolve this case prior to trial.”
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to “provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or job applicants, unless doing so would cause undue hardship.” The EEOC explains that “an accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.”
The suit was managed by the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office, which is part of the Indianapolis District Office. The District office oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and parts of Ohio. As an agency, the EEOC is tasked with enforcing federal laws designed to prevent employment discrimination. Additional information about the agency can be found at www.eeoc.gov.