Hospital Refused Job to Man Because of Perceived Disability, Federal Agency Says
WEIRTON, W.V. -- Weirton Medical Center, a community hospital in Weirton, W.V., refused to select a long-time employee for a vacant maintenance department position because of his age and perceived disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Paul Ayers, who is a linen technician employee of Weirton Medical Center, applied for an available multi-craftsman assistant position. Ayers, who was 48 years old at the time, had a back impairment at the time he applied for the job. The EEOC charges that the Weirton Medical Center's maintenance director, who interviewed Ayers, has made various oral and written statements indicating that Ayers was not hired for the job because of his age and because he was regarded as disabled.
Such conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Weirton Medical Center, Civil Action No. 5:13-cv-00097) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Rejecting a long-time employee for a vacant position for which he is well qualified simply because of his age and perceived disability is not just bad for employee morale, it's a clear violation of federal law," said EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "The EEOC is committed to ensuring that employees and applicants will be fairly assessed on their ability to do a job, and not wrongfully excluded due to myths or biases about age or perceived disabilities."
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.