The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



EEOC Says Car Dealership Refused to Hire a Salesperson Due to Perceived Mental Disability

HONOLULU – Valley Isle Motors, Ltd., a car dealership in Maui, unlawfully discriminated against an employee by failing to hire him for a salesperson position because of a perceived mental disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

The EEOC charged in its suit, (EEOC v. Valley Isle Motors, Ltd., Case No. CV 09-00053 HG KSC, in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii), that Valley Isle Motors subjected an employee to discriminatory practices on the basis of a misperceived mental disability when he was denied a salesperson position because of prescription medications he was taking. The employee was denied the position despite having submitted normal medical test results to Valley Isle Motors and was medically authorized to work without any restrictions.

Such alleged conduct violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“Because this employee submitted to medical testing that revealed normal results, this suit illustrates the ADA’s prohibition against employers making employment decisions based on unfounded stereotypes against persons with perceived mental disabilities,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “The employee in this case was qualified, ready, willing, and able to work, but Valley Isle Motors denied him that opportunity for discriminatory reasons.

Timothy Riera, director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, said, "It's crucial for all persons who are involved in the hiring process to comply with the ADA and not make decisions based on stereotypical assumptions."

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age, disability and retaliation. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on February 10, 2009.

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