U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Car Dealership Fired Salesperson Because of Leg Condition, Federal Agency Charged
WHEELING, W.V. – A large Wheeling car dealership will pay $56,000 and furnish significant injunctive relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Jim Robinson Ford-Lincoln-Mercury unlawfully refused to accommodate the disability of a salesperson and then fired him.
The EEOC charged that Jim Robinson Ford fired Bryan Perry because of his disability, a leg condition that affected his ability to walk, after denying him a reasonable accommodation. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, Civil Action Number 5:10-cv-00102. The EEOC attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process before filing suit.
In addition to the $56,000 in monetary relief paid to Perry, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Jim Robinson Ford from engaging in any further employment practice that discriminates based on disability or retaliation. In addition, the decree mandates that the company will adopt certain procedures and training to enable it to accurately assess whether disabled employees can perform the essential functions of their jobs and to identify reasonable accommodations that will assist disabled employees.
“When an employer is on notice that one of its employees cannot perform a job function due to a disability, the ADA requires that the employer distinguish between the essential and non-essential functions of that job,” said Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. “The employer must then work to identify a reasonable accommodation for the employee’s disability. Earnest, interactive communication with the employee, viewing the purpose of the job and its functions realistically, and carefully researching and considering options for reasonable accommodation of the disability are all keys to ADA compliance.”
EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “We are pleased that the company worked with us to resolve this lawsuit for satisfactory monetary relief and equitable remedies designed to prevent future disability or discrimination.”
In Fiscal Year 2011, the EEOC received a record 99,947 private-sector workplace discrimination charges, the highest number of charges in the agency’s 46-year history.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.