U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Construction Contractors Refused to Hire Applicant Because of His Dyslexia
NEW YORK - McPhee Electric Ltd., a construction company with offices in Connecticut, and Bond Brothers, Inc., a construction management and design company with an office in Connecticut, will pay $120,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that McPhee and Bond unlawfully refused to hire an applicant as a carpenter because of his disability, dyslexia, which substantially limits his ability to read. The applicant had 15 years of experience as a carpenter. He also had numerous construction safety training certifications and a clean safety record. However, Bond and McPhee refused to hire him after learning about his dyslexia while asserting that the applicant would present a safety risk.
Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on their disabilities. The EEOC filed suit filed on May 1, 2014 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut (Civil Case No.: 14-CV-00587) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit requires that McPhee and Bond provide training on employment discrimination laws, including the ADA. The three-year consent decree also requires McPhee and Bond to distribute revised policies and procedures on non-discrimination, including procedures for requesting reasonable accommodations and making complaints The decree also requires the companies to provide annual reports to the EEOC concerning all complaints of disability discrimination and requests for reasonable accommodations.
"This case sends a strong message that is at the heart of the ADA -- qualified individuals with disabilities deserve a fair opportunity to be considered for employment, and should not be rejected based on preconceived, unfounded notions about their limitations," said Robert D. Rose, regional attorney of the EEOC's New York District Office.
Catherine Wan, the EEOC trial attorney assigned to the case, added, "We are pleased that McPhee and Bond worked with us to resolve this lawsuit. We are confident that the measures McPhee and Bond have put in place will increase awareness that disability discrimination violates the law."
Kevin Berry, district director of the EEOC's New York District, said, "Employers cannot make assumptions about a prospective employee's ability to work. The EEOC will continue to take vigorous action to remedy discrimination against qualified applicants and employees with disabilities."
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 EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov. The New York District Office of the EEOC oversees Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and portions of New Jersey.