U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Fremont Vacuum Distributor Fires New Hire On Discovering His Disability, Federal Agency Charged
SAN FRANCISCO — Fremont, Calif.-based vacuum distributor All Star Marketing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by rejecting an employee because his left hand is deformed, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.
According to the EEOC’s investigation, Nathan Sanders successfully interviewed in person with All Star Marketing for a salesperson position. The recruiting manager hired Sanders, asking him to start training and orientation the following Monday. However, on his first day at work, the same manager seemed shocked by the appearance of Sander’s left hand and questioned whether he could do the work of demonstrating vacuums as required by the sales position. She asked Sanders to leave, stating that she was sorry for ever asking him to come in.
Sanders, a 29 year-old African-American, said, “During my interview, I was seen as a qualified candidate. But once she focused on my hand, all she could see was my disability instead of my abilities.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits treating workers unfavorably because they have a disability and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. After first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. All Star Marketing, Inc., Civil Action No. CV11-4826-CW), in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland. The suit seeks monetary damages as well as measures to prevent future discrimination by the employer.
EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “This lawsuit should emphasize to employers that hiring and firing decisions must be based on facts -- whether or not an applicant or employee has the ability to do the job -- and not fears concerning disability.”
“The goal of the ADA is to ensure that qualified workers, who happen to have disabilities, are able to join the workforce and contribute to their fullest extent. Our office will defend Mr. Sander’s right to an equal opportunity to work,” said Michael Baldonado, director of EEOC’s San Francisco District Office.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.