Federal Agency Charged Qualified Candidate Was Denied Job Because of Asperger’s
BALTIMORE – A Frederick, Md., employment referral and placement services company violated federal law when it refused to hire an applicant because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the suit, Randstad US, LP failed to hire Jason O’Dell because of his disability, Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Based on his qualifications for the lab technician position he sought, Randstad had originally fast-tracked O’Dell’s participation in the hiring process. While completing Randstad’s hiring paperwork, however, O’Dell disclosed the disability. Soon after, he was told that the lab technician position had been put “on hold.” O’Dell was not hired and Randstad continued to recruit and hire for the lab technician position.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 1:11-cv-01303-WDQ) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks monetary and injunctive relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages as well as employment policies to eliminate future discrimination because of disability.
“We brought this lawsuit because of Randstad’s dismissive treatment of Mr. O’Dell based on its apparent presumptions about individuals with disabilities and their ability to be productive employees, said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “It is exactly this type of prejudicial and stereotypical decision making that the ADA aims to eradicate.”
According to its website, www.Randstadusa.com it is one of the industry's most renowned recruitment companies with a nationwide network of nearly 350 branch locations in the United States.
In Fiscal Year 2010, private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the EEOC hit an unprecedented level of 99,922, which included a record-high number of disability charges (25,165) – an increase of 17.3 percent in disability charges over the prior fiscal year.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.