Company Revoked Conditional Job Offer After Discovering Candidate Had Vision Problems, Federal Agency Charged
RICHMOND, Va. – RCC Consultants, Inc., a New Jersey-based telecommunications engineering and consulting company that has offices throughout the United States, has agreed to pay $45,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, RCC Consultants failed to hire Stanton Woodcock for a managing consultant position because of his disability, ocular albinism. Ocular albinism is an inherited condition in which the eyes lack melanin pigment. Because of the lack of melanin pigment in his eyes, Woodcock has a variety of vision problems which substantially limit his ability to see.
The EEOC alleged that around Oct. 17, 2007, Woodcock interviewed for a managing consultant position at RCC Consultant’s Glen Allen, Va., facility and was offered the position. However, later in that month, when RCC Consultants learned that Woodcock does not drive because of his disability, the company rescinded the job offer. Although Woodcock was fully qualified to perform the duties of the managing consultant position, RCC Consultants unlawfully refused to hire him because of his disability, the EEOC charged.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits private employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in employment. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. RCC Consultants, Inc. Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-864 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Pursuant to the two-year consent decree resolving the litigation, RCC Consultants agreed to pay $45,000 in monetary relief to Woodcock. In addition, the company must also take other actions set forth in the consent decree, including redistributing the company’s anti-discrimination policy to each of its current employees; posting its anti-discrimination policy in its facilities; providing annual ADA-specific training to its officers, managers, supervisors and any employee authorized to hire new employees; and posting a notice about the settlement. Further, RCC Consultants is enjoined from engaging in any further discrimination against any person on the basis of disability, and has agreed to be monitored by the EEOC for the decree’s term.
“Employers need to remember that a person who can perform the job he or she seeks cannot be denied hire simply because of a disability,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Virginia. “This resolution should serve as a reminder that the EEOC will continue its efforts to ensure that employers make employment decisions based on abilities and qualifications – not stereotypes or assumptions.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.