Miami Company Agrees to Settle Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for $150,000
According to a press release from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), USA Parking Services, Inc. — a Miami based valet and parking company — has agreed to pay $150,000 in compensatory damages to settle a disability discrimination claim brought by a deaf job applicant who was denied an opportunity to seek a position at the firm. Here, our Miami employment law attorneys highlight the details of the settlement and we explain the relevant federal law.
EEOC Lawsuit: Miami Parking Company Made Unlawful Assumptions
The EEOC brought this disability discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a deaf job applicant. According to a lawsuit filed by the agency, a deaf person attempted to apply for a valet position at the parking services company. In the complaint, allegations were raised that the company refused to allow the applicant to get a fair shot at the position — based not on an assessment of his individual qualifications, but instead based on its assumption that a deaf person would be unable to perform this position. In other words, he was denied an opportunity to apply simply because of his hearing impairment.
USA Parking Services, Inc. will now pay $150,000 to settle this disability discrimination lawsuit. In addition, the company has agreed to take further action to ensure that it is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other relevant state and federal regulations. Among other things, the company is removing the ability to hear from its ‘essential qualifications’ for its valet positions. Beyond that, the company has also agreed to create a program to actively recruit disabled job seekers.
ADA: Failure to Hire Simply On the Basis of Disability is Unlawful
Employers covered by the ADA cannot refuse to hire a job applicant based entirely on stereotypes or assumptions about a candidate’s’ abilities or lack thereof. They must perform an individualized assessment of the job applicant’s ability to perform the position in question. If a job applicant’s disability prevents them from performing essential functions of the position, then it certainly could be permissible to decline to hire them on those individualized grounds.
Though, the ‘essential functions’ must be reasonable and relatively narrowly tailored to conform to the true requirements of the position. As this case from Miami-Dade County demonstrates, what an employer considers to be an ‘essential function’ can still be challenged as being unreasonably restrictive and, therefore, a form of disability discrimination. As the EEOC noted in its lawsuit, the ability to hear is not necessarily an essential function of being a valet. A job applicant who can communicate in writing is also capable of performing the position.
Speak to a Miami Employment Lawyer Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami employment attorneys have experience representing by companies and workers. To get immediate assistance with your disability discrimination claim, please contact our legal team today. Initial consultations are strictly confidential. With offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we handle employment law cases throughout Florida.