Federal Agency Charges That Customer Service Provider Refused to Hire Applicant Because She Is Paraplegic
JACKSON, Miss. - Asurion, LLC, a customer service support provider for electronic devices, violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant at its former Meridian, Miss., location because she is a paraplegic, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Lakisha Person applied for a customer care representative position online. After reviewing her application, Asurion telephoned Person to discuss her interest in and availability for a position at its Meridian location. According to the EEOC, when the Asurion interviewer learned that Person was paralyzed from the waist down, the interviewer abruptly ended the interview without inquiring into her skills and relevant work experience. Asurion rejected her for the position shortly thereafter, the EEOC said.
Failure to hire an individual because of a disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Asurion, LLC, Case No. 3:17-cv-00336-CWR-FKB) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency's lawsuit seeks, among other things, instatement for Person with retroactive benefits, monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.
"The ADA prohibits employers from refusing to hire qualified applicants based on myths, fears or stereotypes concerning certain impairments," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, director of the EEOC's Birmingham District Office, which has jurisdiction over Alabama, most of Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida. "The applicant in this case was extremely qualified and deserved the opportunity to be judged based on her abilities instead of her impairment."
EEOC Regional Attorney Marsha Rucker added, "Employers cannot refuse employment to a person simply because she has a disability. The EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure that they have access to the same opportunities for advancement in the workplace as anyone else."
According to company information, Asurion, LLC, headquartered in Nashville, is a leading provider of device insurance, warranty and support services for cell phones, consumer electronics and home appliances.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.