Justice Department Settles Americans with Disabilities Act Employment Discrimination Case Against Bolivar County, Mississippi
The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree today with Bolivar County, Mississippi, resolving claims that the county violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint, also filed today, alleges that the county violated the ADA by terminating a correctional officer with the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility one day after he disclosed in a post-hire physical examination that he previously had diabetes. The county terminated the employee, who had nearly 20 years of prior experience as a correctional officer and was qualified to perform the position, because he had a record of a disability and/or was regarded as having a disability.
The consent decree, which must be approved by the court, requires the county to pay the employee nearly $100,000 in back pay and compensatory damages, offer to reinstate him to the correctional officer position, provide training on the ADA and file reports on its compliance with the decree and ADA with the Justice Department.
“Employers may not terminate employees based on erroneous assumptions about individuals with diabetes or other disabilities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “This agreement is another step towards eliminating employment barriers for people with disabilities, and we applaud the county for working cooperatively with the department to resolve this matter.”
Title I of the ADA prohibits employers 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 also 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. This matter was based on a referral from the Jackson, Mississippi, Area Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who completed the initial investigation of the facts.
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 website at www.ada.gov.