EEOC Charged that Staffing Agencies Refused to Place Applicant because of Her Back Impairment
BALTIMORE – Two staffing agencies will pay $35,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged that Axiom Staffing Group, Inc., and Axiom Staffing Group of Virginia, Inc., refused to place Deborah Reynolds through their Hagerstown, Md. facility because of her back impairment, even though Reynolds had years of experience performing clerical and customer service duties. The EEOC said that hiring officials made derogatory comments about her impairment, such as stating that Reynolds would be “too much of a liability because of her back.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA also requires employers to reasonably accommodate an individual’s disability unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. The EEOC attempted to reach a voluntary settlement before it filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, Civil Action No. WDQ-09-2567.
In addition to the monetary relief to Reynolds, the consent decree settling the lawsuit enjoins Axiom Staffing Group of Virginia from engaging in any employment practice which discriminates on the basis of disability. Axiom Staffing Group of Virginia will provide additional training on the requirements of the ADA and post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit. Defendants denied liability in the consent decree.
“It has been twenty years since the passage of the ADA, but sadly too many employers still make employment decisions based on unsubstantiated fears and biases about the abilities of individuals with disabilities,” said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Maryland.
During fiscal year 2009, disability discrimination charges reached a record level of 21,451-- an increase of 10 percent from the prior fiscal year.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its web site at www.eeoc.gov.