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Press Release 09-29-2021

Excentia Human Services Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Preschool Provider Refused to Employ Candidate with Cerebral Palsy, Federal Agency Charges

PHILADELPHIA – The Pai Corporation, doing business as Excentia Human Services and as Excentia and S. June Smith Center (“Excentia”), violated federal law when it discriminated against a candidate with cerebral palsy for employment because of her disability, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Stevie Baum was a qualified candidate for a preschool teacher assistant position with Excentia and had two successful interviews.  After Baum reported to the worksite, however, Excentia refused to hire her for the position because of limitations Excentia thought she had because she has cerebral palsy.  Baum asked Excentia to reconsider, and to consider her for other employment opportunities, but Excentia refused to hire her for the teacher assistant position or any other position, according to the suit. 

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities unless it would cause an undue hardship.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The Pai Corporation d/b/a Excentia Human Services and d/b/a Excentia and S. June Smith Center, Case No. 2:21-cv-04273) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking permanent injunctive relief prohibiting Excentia from discriminating against applicants or employees because of disability in the future, lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and other relief.

"When employers refuse to hire candidates because of their disabilities, they miss an opportunity to increase diversity, fail to benefit from the contributions of capable and talented persons and violate their rights secured under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said EEOC District Director Jamie R. Williamson of the agency’s Philadelphia District. “EEOC is committed to righting these wrongs and rooting out disability discrimination.”

Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence said, “Employers must remember that they cannot rely on subjective perceptions, assumptions, or stereotypes about the nature or effect of a person’s disability when deciding whether that person is qualified to perform a job.  If they do, they risk violating the law.”  

EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of EEOC also prosecutes discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

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.