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PRESS RELEASE
11-26-14

Disability Network Will Pay $38,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Non-Profit Whose Mission Is to Help Disabled Individuals Failed to Accommodate and Then Fired Deaf Employee, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT - Metropolitan Detroit Center for Independent Living, d/b/a Disability Network / Wayne County, will pay $38,500 and provide equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit, Disability Network denied a deaf employee, who worked as an independent living specialist for the non-profit, reasonable accommodations such as TTY equipment, a video phone and the ability to use text messaging. The complaint also alleged that Disability Network rejected the employee's requests, failed to provide him with alternate accommodations, and finally fired him because he is deaf.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC sued Disability Network (EEOC v. Metropolitan Center for Independent Living d/b/a Disability Network / Wayne County, Case No. 4:14-CV-12118) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Michigan.

In addition to the $38,500 in monetary relief, the five-year consent decree settling the suit provides for training on the ADA and enjoins Disability Network from terminating an employee on the basis of disability or failing to provide reasonable accommodations in the future.

"The hypocrisy of this non-profit - whose very mission is to help disabled individuals - disadvantaging and then firing someone because of a disability -- is mind-boggling," said EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. "Disability Network, of all people, should understand the importance of working toward reasonable accommodations for a deaf employee. It only goes to show that the EEOC has its work cut out for it - and we will certainly continue our fight for the rights of the disabled."

Metropolitan Detroit Center for Independent Living, d/b/a Disability Network / Wayne County-Detroit is a Michigan non-profit corporation whose primary function is to provide services for people with disabilities.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.