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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-21-11

EEOC Sues ITT Tech For Disability Discrimination

Blind Applicant Denied Accommodation in Hiring Process, Federal Agency Charges

SACRAMENTO, Calif.  – A national for-profit educational provider, ITT Technical Institutes, violated  federal law when it refused to accommodate a blind applicant during the hiring  process and denied him a job, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

Kerry Kirksey  applied for work as an educational recruiter at ITT Tech’s Rancho Cordova, Calif.,  site and was required to take a timed on-line assessment as part of the  application process. He knew the answers  to the questions, but his screen-reading software was too slow and would not  enable him to complete the assessment on time. According to the EEOC, Kirksey contacted ITT  Tech, explained that he is blind, requested a reasonable accommodation in the  assessment process and suggested accommodations of a reader or additional  time. ITT Tech said there was nothing  they could do, said the EEOC. The EEOC  learned through its investigation that Kirksey’s job developer also tried to  advocate for him, but received the same response, even after explaining that  denying a reasonable accommodation is against the law.

“I was really shocked  and surprised when ITT Tech would not provide an accommodation,” said Kirksey. “It would have cost them nothing to comply  with the law. I had received computer  training from a school like ITT Tech and worked in the computer industry for  five years, so I was excited by the opportunity to help other people discover  the benefits of this kind of school.”

The Americans  With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability. The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. ITT Educational Services, Inc. dba  ITT Technical Institutes) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District  of California after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through  its conciliation process. The suit seeks  monetary damages, including back pay, compensation for emotional distress and  punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks an  injunction prohibiting further discrimination by ITT Tech and mandating  corrective action.

“The ADA clearly requires employers to provide  accommodations to disabled applicants who need them during the hiring process  and specifically addresses the area of testing,” said EEOC Regional Attorney  William R. Tamayo. “In this case, a  simple accommodation of additional time or a reader would have enabled Mr.  Kirksey to complete the application process and would not have cost a  dime. There really is no reason ITT Tech  should have denied the accommodation.”

EEOC San Francisco District  Director Michael Baldonado added, “Employers are increasingly relying on the  Internet as part of their hiring process.  They need to be mindful of how the application process might impose  barriers for people with disabilities.  When alerted that an applicant needs an accommodation, they must act and  provide one unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.”

According to its website, www.ittesi.com, ITT Educational Services  (NYSE:ESI) provides accredited, technology-oriented undergraduate and graduate  degree programs and is headquartered in Carmel,  Indiana. It owns and operates more than 120 ITT  Technical Institutes and Daniel  Webster College,  and serves approximately 80,000 students at its campuses in 38 states and  online.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on  its web site at www.eeoc.gov.