Commercial Real Estate Firm Rescinded Job Offer After Applicant Disclosed Her PTSD and Requested an Accommodation, Federal Agency Charges
ATLANTA - The Atlanta office of a commercial real estate and investment management company headquartered in Chicago violated federal law by discriminating against a job applicant because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. (JLL), violated federal law when it rescinded a job offer to a development and asset strategy production support analyst position in April 2016 after the applicant disclosed her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and requested to work remotely once per week to attend medical appointments related to her disability. Prior to learning of her disability, JLL informed the applicant numerous times during its interview process that it offered flexible work arrangements and schedules. However, once it learned that the applicant suffered from PTSD and sought to work remotely one day per week as an accommodation for her disability, JLL quickly rescinded its job offer, the EEOC said. The applicant withdrew her accommodation request after being notified that the offer had been rescinded, but JLL refused to reconsider its decision.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17-CV-4017-ELR-JSA) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages for the applicant, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.
"An employer cannot refuse to hire an employee because that person has a disability or because she sought a reasonable accommodation," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC's Atlanta District Office. "The employee here disclosed her disability, but instead of accommodating her, the employer rescinded its job offer. This is unlawful, and the EEOC is here to stand up for the victims of such practices."
Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, "The disclosure of a disability by an employee or applicant requires a certain level of trust that the employer will not use it against her. Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened in this case. This is why the law protects people with disabilities who exercise their legal rights."
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The Atlanta District Office of the EEOC oversees Georgia and parts of South Carolina.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.