The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
7-2-09

GLENN O. HAWBAKER, INC. SUED BY EEOC FOR DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Construction Company Refused to Hire Equipment Operator With Diabetes, Federal Agency Charges

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – A large Pennsylvania construction company violated federal civil rights law when it rescinded a conditional job offer to an applicant because it learned that he has diabetes, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. made a conditional offer of employment as an equipment operator to Christopher Woomer at its facility in State College, Pa. Woomer, who has a certificate to operate heavy machinery, worked for several years as a backhoe operator and even demonstrated his ability to operate the backhoe during the job interview at Hawbaker. When Woomer, of Tyrone, Pa., went for a post-job offer company physical, the company learned he has diabetes. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, once the company learned about Woomer’s disability, it rescinded the job offer.

It is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to refuse to hire an applicant based on his disability. The EEOC filed this lawsuit (Civil Action 4:09-cv-1261, in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania) only after its Philadelphia office completed an investigation into the discrimination charge and attempted to reach a voluntary settlement.

During Fiscal Year 2008, disability discrimination charges rose to 19,453 -- an increase of 10 percent from the prior fiscal year and the highest number of disability charges filed with the EEOC in 14 years.

“Mr. Woomer’s years of experience rendered him well-qualified for the equipment operator position and he even demonstrated during his job interview how well he could operate a backhoe,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The EEOC will take action when an employer unlawfully makes a hiring decision based on ill-founded stereotypes and biases against a person with a disability rather than on his proven ability to do the job.”

Hawbaker currently operates 17 quarries and eight asphalt production facilities across Pennsylvania and southern New York, as well as four regional operations centers.

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


This page was last modified on July 2, 2009.

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