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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Justice Department Sues Caroline County, Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue for Disability Discrimination

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit today alleging that the Caroline County Commissioner of the Revenue in Bowling Green, Virginia, fired a former Master Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue on the basis of her disability, a respiratory impairment, in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

The Commissioner of the Revenue allegedly also failed to provide reasonable accommodations for this qualified employee with a disability, as required by Title I of the ADA.  According to the complaint, the employee, who had worked for the Commissioner of the Revenue since 1991, needed reasonable accommodations because of her physical impairments, which cause shortness of breath and hoarseness.  The lawsuit alleges that instead of providing these reasonable accommodations, the Commissioner of the Revenue terminated the employee.

Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability in employment.  These prohibitions include failing to provide reasonable accommodations if the accommodation does not pose an undue hardship to the employer.  Reasonable accommodations include acquiring equipment or devices, among other things.

“The Justice Department is committed to enforcing the rights of qualified individuals with disabilities to earn a living and serve their communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division.  “Nearly 30 years after the ADA was signed into law, every qualified individual with a disability who wants to work should be able to do so without fear of discrimination.  It is past time for every covered employer to comply with the law by providing reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities if the accommodation wouldn’t pose an undue hardship.”

This matter was based on a referral from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Norfolk Local Office, which completed the initial investigation of the facts.  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.

2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Justice Department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.  The Justice Department will continue to use its enforcement and technical assistance tools to eliminate unlawful discrimination against individuals with disabilities. 

NOTE: The complaint can be found here

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
20-246
Updated February 27, 2020