Hearing-Impaired Assistant Teacher to Receive $100,000
BALTIMORE – One of the largest metropolitan Jewish community centers in the country will pay $100,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington (JCCGW) in Rockville, Md., violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it demoted and fired an assistant teacher because of her hearing impairment.
In its suit (AW 8:10-cv-1965), filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, the EEOC said that Carole Schulman satisfactorily performed her job duties as a nursery school assistant teacher at JCCGW. The EEOC believes that Schulman was able to fulfill every aspect of her job safely, with no threat to anyone. Schulman was denied an accommodation, demoted to a lower-paying position as a mail room clerk and ultimately removed from the preschool altogether because of her hearing impairment.
The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation unless it imposes an undue hardship. The consent decree settling the suit provides $100,000 in back pay, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees to Schulman. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree resolving the case requires that JCCGW provide mandatory training for all employees and managers on the ADA with special emphasis on reasonable accommodation, the employer’s duty to engage in the interactive process and direct threat considerations. JCCGW will also post notices at its facilities affirming its commitment to complying with the ADA, be enjoined from further discriminating on the basis of disability and be monitored by EEOC for ADA compliance.
“We are pleased that the company agreed to resolve the case by providing substantial monetary relief to Ms. Schulman – and agreeing to other terms that will help protect other employees from disability discrimination,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
During fiscal year 2010, disability discrimination charges filed with the EEOC reached a record level of 25,165.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its web site at www.eeoc.gov.