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PRESS RELEASE
8-30-13

Randall Ford in Fort Smith Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Company Refused to Accommodate Manager, Then Fired Him Because of Disability, Federal Agency Charges

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A car dealership in Fort Smith, Ark., violated federal law when it failed to accommodate its used car manager and then terminated him because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

The EEOC's suit alleges that Randall Ford violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to accommodate the used car manager's disability following his spinal surgery.  The manager asked for the use of a golf cart, which the company had, and for help in test-driving vehicles in order to determine the trade-in value.  Randall Ford did not engage in any discussions with him about the suggested accommodations but simply fired him, supposedly for alleged misconduct that had occurred about three months prior. 

Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No. 13-2206, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fort Smith Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.   The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits, and an injunction against future discrimination.

The ADA mandates that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to achieve success in the workplace by being provided with reasonable accommodations in order to perform the essential functions of their job, unless doing so would be an undue hardship for the employer.

"This employee had performed his job successfully for over one year, and only after his request for an accommodation did Randall Ford make the decision to fire him," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi.  "Fighting disability discrimination is a priority for the EEOC."

Randall Ford sells new and used cars.  The company's website states that it ranks in the top 10 percent of the Memphis Region in new vehicle sales and ranks #2 in pre-owned vehicle sales. 

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.