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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Ventura County, California, to Enforce Employment Rights Under the ADA

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles charging Ventura County, Calif., with discrimination in its employment practices by refusing to hire a qualified applicant because she is deaf.

The applicant for a children’s social services position was given high ratings during her initial interview where the questions were standardized and job-related. Following a second interview conducted by different staff whose questions focused on the applicant’s deafness, she was not hired. At the time of her application, she had worked in the same capacity for Los Angeles County for more than eight years and had excelled in her position.

"The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted to protect individuals with disabilities from exactly this kind of discrimination. The ADA prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on stereotypes and unfounded assumptions about how a deaf employee will perform the job, or about the costs involved in providing reasonable accommodations for a deaf employee," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the promise of equal employment opportunities for all individuals with disabilities."

Title I of the ADA prohibits employers, such as Ventura County, from discriminating against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures; the hiring, advancement or discharge of employees; employee compensation; job training; and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. An employer may not deny employment opportunities to a job applicant or employee who is otherwise qualified if the denial is based on the need to make reasonable accommodations for the applicant or employee.

Those interested in finding out more about federal disability rights statutes can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA Web site at www.ada.gov.

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