Austin Employment Attorney Comments on Recent Disability Discrimination Lawsuit | The Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan

Austin Employment Attorney Comments on Recent Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Stevens Transport, a refrigerated transport company based in the Dallas area, will pay $50,000 to settle a disability lawsuit filed in federal court, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The lawsuit alleged that the company refused to hire a paraplegic man because of his disability.  The man had applied for positions in management.

“The EEOC only files lawsuits against employers in a very small percentage of the matters in which employees file charges of discrimination,” said Gregory D. Jordan, an Austin employment lawyer.  “The pursuit of this disability lawsuit suggests the EEOC may be becoming more involved in disability claims now that the 2009 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act have become better understood.”

Andrew Scott became a paraplegic after an automobile collision in 2003.  According to the lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Texas, he was turned down for two positions in management at Stevens Transport because of his disability.

The lawsuit alleges that Scott was contacted by the company after he posted his resume on a website for job applicants.  Scott has an economics degree and an M.B.A.  After a successful telephone interview, Stevens Transport asked Scott to come in for an in-person interview, and the company then learned of his disability.

The company’s management informed Scott during the interview that operations moved at a quick pace, and they were concerned he would not be able to keep up.  According to the EEOC, after much communication between Scott and the company, he was told that he would not be hired for either of two open management positions.

The EEOC argued that Stevens Transport was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from refusing to hire a qualified applicant because of a disability.  After trying to reach a voluntary settlement, the EEOC filed the lawsuit in federal court.  The EEOC said that the company’s actions clearly violated the law, and were also counter-productive for the company.

In 2009, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) took effect, extending ADA coverage.  In 2011, the EEOC received more than 25,000 ADA charges, a 21 percent increase from 2009.

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