Surprise! Iron Range firm wins EEOC ADA case — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Surprise! Iron Range firm wins EEOC ADA case

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It’s not often an employer wins a case against the EEOC, but Hibbing Taconite has convinced a federal jury in Duluth that it did not discriminate against a deaf job applicant.

James Edstrom, of Eveleth, applied for truck driver and equipment operator positions at Hibbing Taconite.

Surprise! Iron Range firm wins EEOC ADA case

It’s not often an employer wins a case against the EEOC, but Hibbing Taconite has convinced a federal jury in Duluth that it did not discriminate against a deaf job applicant.

James Edstrom, of Eveleth, applied for truck driver and equipment operator positions at Hibbing Taconite.

The Mesabi Iron Range mining firm refused to hire him, stating that his deafness posed a safety hazard for those who worked with him. The case went to trial this summer. (See “Trial likely in ADA suit against Hibbing Taconite.”)

Lo and behold, the jury agreed with Hibbing Taconite.

The EEOC had joined Edstrom’s case after it investigated his complaint and determined the company probably discriminated against him in violation of the ADA. Attempts to settle the dispute before it went to court failed.

Note: The key to winning ADA cases is documentation. Employers seldom win on broad exclusions, but can win when they show that accommodations would not work. Employers can demonstrate this to a jury only if they have thoroughly documented the process.

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