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Press Release 03-06-2017

C&A Tool Engineering to Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Company Withdrew Job Offer Based on Mistaken Assumptions About Applicant's Vision, Federal Agency Charged

INDIANAPOLIS - C&A Tool Engineering Inc., a manufacturing-tooling company in Churubusco, Ind., will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a job applicant, an experienced and qualified machinist, applied and interviewed for a machinist position. Upon completion of the interview C&A Tool made a job offer conditioned on his passing a physical examination. C&A Tool withdrew the job offer because the exam report referenced a possible vision impairment related to a congenital eye condition. During litigation, the parties' expert ophthalmologists agreed the applicant had normal vision.

Withdrawing a job offer based on unsubstantiated stereotypical beliefs about a medical condition violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division (case no. 1:16-CV-00111-WCL-SLC) on March 31, 2016  after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

A consent decree approved March 3, 2017 requires the company to pay the employee $35,000. C&A Tool also agreed to require its human resources supervisors and managers and business unit managers to attend a training seminar on disability discrimination. The company must also advance and maintain a disability policy, post a notice informing employees that federal law prohibits discrimination, and report to EEOC over a five-year period the instances when it withdraws a job offer based on the results of its post-offer physical examination. C&A Tool also is required to engage in the interactive accommodation process whenever a qualified individual (employee or applicant for employment) with a disability requests a reasonable accommodation and to inform its employees that disability is not a factor to be considered in making any employment decision. 

"This settlement demonstrates that all employers, even those who are the main employer in a small town, must abide by federal anti-discrimination law," said Kenneth L. Bird, regional attorney of the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office. "The ADA ensures that employment decisions are made on an individual basis, not on preconceived beliefs about a medical condition. It is not only the law; it is common sense. We are confident that the injunctive relief obtained and our ability to monitor the company for five years will prevent the recurrence of this type of situation." 

According to company information, with over 500 employees, C&A Tool is one of the largest employers in the region. It produces parts for a variety of industries including transportation and aeronautical industries.

The EEOC's Indianapolis District Office oversees Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ¬ment discrimination. More information is available at  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.