Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits are triggered by accommodation delays

by on December 15, 2008 · 1 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Delay in accommodating deaf worker cost his employer $108,000

An employer that dragged its heels in meeting requirements for ADA compliance accommodations for a deaf worker ended up owing him $108,000.

Federal Express refused the worker’s repeated requests to have an American Sign Language (ASL) translator available for training and safety instruction. He also vainly sought closed-captioning assistance for monthly meetings.

Two years after the worker was hired, his supervisor started to make some limited accommodations for ADA compliance, occasionally providing an ASL interpreter and ordering closed-captioned versions of training videos.

But it was only after the worker filed an ADA lawsuit charging discrimination that the employer gave him a form for requesting disability accommodations. He was fired that same month.

The worker filed suit for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and won $108,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

ADA Guidelines for managers

As soon as an employee makes you aware of a possible need for a disability accommodation under the ADA regulations, start discussing solutions with him or her. If you delay this “interactive process,” as the law puts it, you can be blamed for a willful refusal to accommodate and this can trigger a potential ADA lawsuit.

Cite: EEOC v. Federal Express Corp., No. 06-1724, 4th Cir., 1/23/08.

1 Comment on This Post

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