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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
12-16-11

Jim Robinson Ford-Lincoln-Mercury to Pay $56,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit

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.