Mobile Phone Retailer's Management Withdrew Job Offer to Salesman Because He Uses a Wheelchair, Federal Agency Charges
HOUSTON - Mobile Destination, Inc., a mobile phone retailer which operates 30 Verizon Wireless stores in Texas, unlawfully revoked a worker's job offer because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to EEOC's suit, around October 2013, Morgan Davis applied for a retail sales position at the Verizon Wireless store in Porter, Texas. Around Nov. 7, Mobile Destination's district manager and its recruiter interviewed several applicants, including Davis, and after the interviews they extended a job offer to Davis.
The following week, Davis completed and passed his pre-employment background check and drug test. The district manager wanted Davis to start work the week of Thanksgiving 2013. The district manager learned, however, that Mobile Destination's vice president, who worked in the company's headquarters in Nacogdoches, Texas, would not approve the hiring of Davis because he uses a wheelchair.
The district manager advised the vice president that Davis did not appear to have any problems moving around the store in his wheelchair during his job interview. She nevertheless insisted that Davis was not going to be hired, EEOC said. The Mobile Destination corporate office instructed lower management not to answer Davis's calls, and that if Davis came to the store to inquire about his employment, he should be told that the company had "promoted from within."
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits job discrimination against individuals with disabilities. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division (Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-01334) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The federal agency is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in disability discrimination in the future. EEOC is also seeking back pay for Davis, and compensatory and punitive damages and other relief on his behalf, including rightful-place instatement to a suitable position at one of Mobile Destination's stores.
"As in this case, when a worker has a disability but is qualified to perform a job, an employer's unfounded fears and biases are not valid excuses to deny equal employment opportunities," said EEOC Houston District Director Rayford O. Irvin.
EEOC Houston Regional Attorney Jim Sacher said, "This lawsuit will send a message to employers that EEOC will vigorously enforce federal law by prosecuting companies which deny equal opportunity to qualified workers with disabilities."
Mobile Destination, Inc. is a "Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer," according to the webpage http://www.mobiledestination.com/. The company "operate[s] full service Verizon Wireless stores," and has "30 locations throughout Texas and growing."
EEOC's Houston District Office oversees parts of East Texas, Southeast Texas and Louisiana.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.