Bookkeeper Dismissed Due to Vision Impairment, Agency Charges
SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose-based enterprise Riviera Consulting & Management Consulting, LLC, violated federal law when it failed to accommodate an employee with retinitis pigmentosa and then subsequently fired him because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC, when Farhang Dahmubed was hired in September 2007 as a senior bookkeeper, he told his employer about his condition within the first week of his employment. To accommodate his vision impairment, Dahmubed simply arranged (on his own initiative) for additional light near his immediate workspace. However, approximately one month later, his supervisor and the owner informed Dahmubed that he was being terminated due to his inability to drive to deliver paychecks and pick up mail. The EEOC found that this was the first time driving was raised as a job requirement, and although Dahmubed suggested possible solutions to accomplish these tasks, the company refused to consider any accommodations and instead fired him.
"All I wanted to do was continue working at a job I loved," said Dahmubed. "Instead, I was fired because of my vision impairment. I am pursuing this case so that what happened to me doesn't happen to other people with disabilities."
Treating a qualified employee unfavorably because of a disability violates the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). The EEOC filed this suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks back pay and other monetary losses, compensatory and punitive damages for Dahmubed and appropriate injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.
EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, "Rather than accommodate Mr. Dahmubed's vision impairment through one of several simple solutions, this employer chose to ignore the law and got rid of him because of his disability. The law protects employees from precisely such actions."
EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, "Disability does not equal inability. The ADA was enacted to ensure that capable and qualified people like Mr. Dahmubed are not denied the opportunity to contribute their talents to the work force. We filed this lawsuit to send a message to employers that such disability discrimination will not be tolerated."
Riviera Consulting provides financial services and administrative tasks for four other integrated businesses: Ali Baba Corp., Oasis Care, Inc., Sabankaya Select LLC and Sabankaya et al.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.