Job Interview Denied After Applicant Requested Sign Language Interpreter, Federal Agency Charges
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Conduent Business Services, LLC ("Conduent"), a technology-based business services company in Florham Park, New Jersey, violated federal anti-discrimination law when it refused to interview and hire an applicant because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's complaint, the applicant, who is deaf, applied for a Corporate Development Associate position at Conduent through a recruiting firm. The applicant was fully qualified for the position and was one of several candidates Conduent expressed an interest in interviewing. After the recruiting firm notified Conduent that the applicant was hearing impaired and would require an American Sign Language interpreter for his interview, Conduent decided not to interview or consider him further for the position.
This alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Civil Action No. 2:19-cv-18541) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Conduent from discriminating against disabled individuals in hiring, as well as lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and other affirmative relief for the applicant.
"Qualified individuals with disabilities deserve a fair and equal opportunity to be considered for employment," said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC's New York District Office. "When an employer learns that an applicant whom it is interviewing is hearing impaired or deaf, the employer should work with the applicant to determine if an ASL interpreter or another accommodation is needed for the interview. To simply end the interview process and eliminate the applicant from further consideration violates federal law."
Kevin Berry, district director of EEOC's New York District Office, added, "Removing barriers in the hiring process that discriminate against protected classes, including individuals with disabilities, is a national priority for the EEOC."
The EEOC's New York District Office oversees New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.