Trucking Company Refused to Hire Paraplegic for a Management Position When It Learned of His Disability, Federal Agency Charges
DALLAS -- A refrigerated transport carrier that services major companies in need of over-the-road trucking violated federal law by discriminating against an applicant based on his disability, paraplegia, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit against Dallas-based Stevens Transport, Inc., Andrew Scott, who became a paraplegic in 2003 as a result of a car accident, was contacted by the company after posting his resume on a job search website and considered a candidate for two open office positions. Scott was initially interviewed over the telephone and was subsequently scheduled for an in-person interview. It was not until Scott arrived at the interview that Stevens Transport became aware of his disability. The EEOC alleges that Scott was told at the in-person interview that there was some concern that he would not be able to keep up with the pace of operations. After several weeks of communication with the company, Scott was ultimately informed that he had not been selected for hire into either of the positions for which he had originally been considered despite his qualifications.
“Perhaps this company has simply failed to read the signs that have marked the road paved by the ADA toward an inclusive workplace,” said Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “We hope that this enforcement effort will help steer the company toward a corrective course for the future.”
Refusing to hire an individual because of his disability violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 3:11-CV-2557-L in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay and front pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.
EEOC Trial Attorney Meaghan Shepard said, “Employers should not allow false perceptions or stereotypes about disabilities to taint hiring decisions. It is not only unlawful, but there was no business justification for Mr. Scott, who has a master’s-level education and relevant experience in the transportation industry, to have been disregarded as an applicant for a managerial position simply because he was in a wheelchair.”
In fiscal year 2010, 25,165 ADA charges were filed with the EEOC and state and local anti-discrimination agencies, an increase of 17 percent from FY 2009.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.