CHICAGO - Bank of America will pay $110,000 to a former temporary worker and provide other equitable relief under a consent decree resolving a disability discrimination case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC alleged that Bank of America failed to accommodate a visually impaired data entry worker and instead terminated his temporary assignment at one of the bank's branches in downtown Chicago after one day on the job.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. This can include making adjustments or modifications in the workplace that enable an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his job. For example, an employer may be required to provide screen magnifying software that would enable an employee with a visual impairment to perform essential computer work. Questions and answers about blindness, visual impairments and the ADA are available on the EEOC's website.
The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Bank of America, N.A., Civil Action No. 11-cv-6378, September 13, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. U.S. District Judge Milton I. Shadur entered the decree resolving the suit December 18. In addition to monetary relief for the former employee, the decree includes an injunction requiring the bank provide reasonable accommodations to temporary and contingent workers at its branches throughout Illinois, provides for training about the ADA's requirements and imposes recordkeeping and reporting requirements for the duration of the decree.
"Of the millions of working-age Americans with vision loss, research has shown that fewer than half are employed, An employer of the size and sophistication of Bank of America, which employs an enormous number of people working at computer terminals, ought to be a national leader in employing individuals with disabilities, including vision loss, and a leader in ADA compliance generally," said John Hendrickson, EEOC Chicago district regional attorney. "We're optimistic that this consent decree is going to prompt that kind of progress at Bank of America, not only because it's the law, but also because it's the right thing to do."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.