A North Carolina man whose job offer was rescinded when KobeWieland Copper Products discovered he was missing several fingers will receive $84,750 under the terms of a settlement brokered by the EEOC.
The commission charged KobeWieland with illegally yanking Joseph Cardwell’s job offer the first day he reported for work as a caster at the company’s Pine Hill plant. An HR specialist took one look at Cardwell’s left hand and concluded he wouldn’t be able to perform the job. When Cardwell was sent home jobless, he called the EEOC. The commission investigated and found that Cardwell was perfectly capable of performing the job, but had never been given a chance because the company perceived him to be disabled, in violation of the ADA.
The two sides failed to settle the dispute through the EEOC’s conciliation process, and the commission filed a lawsuit on Cardwell’s behalf. That got KobeWieland’s attention, and the company decided to settle.
In addition to paying Cardwell, the settlement requires KobeWieland to train all its managers and supervisors on their obligations under the ADA.
Advice: Don’t assume people are incapable of performing a job just because they have disabilities. That’s illegal under the ADA. If the employee has a history of performing similar work, you can’t assume otherwise. If you discover an obvious disability like Cardwell’s, ask if the employee needs any accommodation. If he says no, then he must meet the same standards as any other employee performing that job.