The EEOC alleges the bank knew of the employee’s disability when it hired him, but fired him after his first day without exploring accommodations, such as a bigger monitor or font-enlarging software, that would have allowed him to perform his job.
The EEOC tried to settle the dispute with the bank, but when those efforts failed, it filed a federal lawsuit seeking back pay, punitive and compensatory damages and injunctive relief.
Note: When an employee or applicant’s disability is obvious—for example, a visual or auditory impairment or the use of a wheelchair—employers may ask about possible accommodations without waiting for an applicant or employee to raise the issue first.
Employers can’t just default on the obligation to accommodate employees with disabilities. First there has to be an interactive process—a discussion between the employer and the employee—to find out if reasonable accommodations will allow the employee to perform the job’s essential functions. If the employer concludes no accommodation is possible, it must be prepared to show that any proposed accommodations would have been too costly or too disruptive to the workplace.