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The Justice Department today announced that it has reached an agreement with the city of Baltimore, Maryland, to end hiring practices that discriminate against people with disabilities. The agreement, filed as a consent decree along with a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, resolves allegations by the department that the city engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability in various aspects of employment, including hiring.
The department alleges that the city required job applicants, including an individual complainant, to submit to a medical examination and answer disability-related inquiries before the city made conditional offers of employment. Under the ADA, employers may not require applicants to submit to medical exams or answer disability-related inquiries before making conditional offers of employment. The department also alleges that the city refused to hire the complainant for a fire dispatcher position because of her disability, even though she was already working successfully as a dispatcher elsewhere and required no accommodations.
The consent decree must be approved by the court, and requires the city to:
· pay $65,000 to the complainant in compensatory damages;
· adopt new policies and procedures regarding the administration of pre-employment medical examinations and inquiries;
· provide training on the ADA to all employees who participate in making personnel decisions related to pre-employment medical examinations and inquiries;
· ensure that the city’s contract with any medical examiner provides that the examiner is required to comply with the ADA in conducting medical examinations and certify that it has reviewed ADA training materials;
· provide periodic reports to the department on compliance; and
· designate an employee to address ADA compliance matters.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate discriminatory, outdated stereotypes that prevent individuals with disabilities from being hired for positions for which they are qualified,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division.
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.