EEOC Report – Antioch Store Illegally Refused to Interview Candidate Because He Is Deaf
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), national retailer Target Corporation violated federal law when it failed to interview a qualified job applicant because he is deaf. The EEOC's investigation revealed that John Hayes applied online for an entry-level front clerk position at Target's Antioch, California store in September 2014. Hayes was qualified for the job and when Target's HR representatives called Hayes's number, they reached a Video Relay Service (VRS), which enables him to communicate with hearing people using a sign language interpreter. His phone records show that Target called twice and hung up both times without leaving a message, a deviation from their usual practices. Each time Hayes returned the call, he spoke to an HR representative who informed him that Target would call back to schedule an interview. However, Target never scheduled the interview but instead hired seven non-disabled applicants to fill vacancies in its Antioch store between October 23 and October 31.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Americans with Disabilities Act – The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government' programs and services. As it relates to employment, Title I of the ADA protects the rights of both employees and job seekers. The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with a disability, a record of a disability, or who are regarded as having a disability. Further, the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees absent an undue hardship.
Since rejecting a qualified applicant because of disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The EEOC's lawsuit seeks lost wages, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future. The EEOC filed the suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
William Tamayo, the EEOC's San Francisco District Office director remarked, “Mr. Hayes had a successful 17-year career with a major medical provider before he retired…He was stunned to discover that Target wouldn't even interview him for an entry-level clerk position after learning he was deaf. Congress enacted the ADA to prevent just this sort of thing — employers refusing to consider qualified individuals because of their disability.”
EEOC Trial Attorney Debra Smith added, “This is the second lawsuit we've filed this month on behalf of a qualified deaf applicant denied the opportunity to interview, and we just announced a settlement obtaining $88,000 and a job position for another qualified deaf job seeker. These are candidates with valuable skills and experience, and it is wrong to shut them out of the workplace based on fears and stereotypes about being deaf.”
According to company information, Target Corporation operates 1,839 stores and 39 distribution centers in the United States, with headquarters in Minneapolis, and employs 350,000 workers worldwide. The Antioch Slatten Ranch Store, Target Store No. 1819, employs approximately 300 workers in the Antioch area.
Questions about Disability and Discrimination
Should you have questions about ADA or disability discrimination don't hesitate to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley. Call and speak to an experienced California lawyer toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or contact us via email.
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