Hearing-Impaired Assistant Teacher Demoted Because of Disability, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE – The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md., one of the largest metropolitan Jewish community centers in the country, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it demoted a nursery school assistant teacher because of her hearing impairment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
The EEOC alleged in its lawsuit that even though Carole Schulman satisfactorily performed her job duties as a nursery school assistant teacher, the community center demoted her to a lower-paying position as a mail room clerk because of her hearing impairment. Schulman started working for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in 2005 as an assistant teacher. With her cochlear implant in one ear, Schulman can hear high-pitched sounds, voices and noises, including hearing children laughing and talking.
The EEOC contends that the community center failed to provide a reasonable accommodation to Schulman, as the ADA requires, and instead demoted her based on its groundless belief that she could not perform her duties as an assistant teacher.
The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation unless it imposes an undue hardship. The EEOC attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement before filing suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, Civil Action No. ---
During Fiscal Year 2009, disability discrimination charges reached a record level of 21,451 -- an increase of 10 percent from the prior fiscal year.
Further information about the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington is available on its web site, www.jccgw.org.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.