The Justice Department today announced it filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York against Erie County, N.Y., alleging that the county discriminated against an employee with a disability. The department simultaneously filed a consent decree to resolve the claims. In its lawsuit, the department alleges that the county violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to promote a maintenance worker with monocular vision because he did not have a commercial driver’s license. The Justice Department found that the employee was qualified for the promotion and that he could perform all the important job duties associated with the promotion. The department also found that there were other employees who did not have a commercial driver’s license who had been promoted to the position.
“The result of the county’s action was to deny a promotion to someone who should have received it,” said Eve L. Hill, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to removing these types of discriminatory barriers, and to ensuring equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”
The consent decree, which must be approved by the court, requires the county to pay the employee $22,486 in back pay and interest, offer him a promotion with remedial seniority, provide training on the ADA and file periodic reports with the Justice Department.
Title I of the ADA prohibits employers, such as Erie County, from discriminating against people on the basis of disability in various aspects of employment. These prohibitions include using qualification standards that screen out individuals with disabilities and that are not job-related and consistent with business necessity. The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, where such an accommodation does not pose an undue hardship.
Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.