Electrical Construction Contractors Refused to Hire Applicant Because of His Dyslexia, Federal Agency Charges
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - McPhee Electric Ltd., an electrical construction company with offices in Connecticut, and Bond Bros., Inc., a construction management and design company with an office in Connecticut, unlawfully refused to hire an applicant as a carpenter because of his dyslexia, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, the applicant's dyslexia substantially limits his ability to read. However, the applicant had 15 years of experience as a carpenter and was fully qualified for the position. The applicant told Bond and McPhee that he had a clean safety record and numerous safety training certifications. However, Bond and McPhee refused to hire him after learning about his dyslexia, claiming that he would present a safety risk, and also refused to explore possible accommodations for the applicant's disability.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on their disabilities. The EEOC filed suit on May 1, 2014, in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut (Civil Case No.: 3:14-cv-587), after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through the conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the applicant, as well as injunctive and other non-monetary relief.
"Employers and applicants can often settle an apparent hindrance caused by a disability by simply exploring accommodation options," said EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry. "These companies would not even discuss that and simply refused to hire the man, apparently thinking that was the easiest option for them. That, as it turned out, was obviously not the case."
The EEOC's acting regional attorney for New York, Robert D. Rose, added, "It is unfortunate that many employers still deny work opportunities to qualified people who are ready and able to perform the job, simply because of myths and fears about their medical impairments or disabilities. This suit should remind employers that the EEOC will continue to prosecute cases where job applicants' basic rights are violated."
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 enforces 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.