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Assumptions about disability cost Dallas company $50,000

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

Stevens Transport, a Dallas-area trucking company, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle EEOC charges that it refused to hire a paraplegic man for a management position due to his disability.

The EEOC contended that Andrew Scott, who was paralyzed in a 2003 car accident, was qualified for the job.

Stevens Trans­­port contacted Scott after seeing his résumé on a job search website. After a successful telephone interview, the company scheduled a face-to-face interview for two job openings.

Scott’s disability became apparent at the in-person interview. That’s when one of the hiring decision-makers allegedly expressed concerns about Scott’s ability to keep up with the pace of operations.

Despite his qualifications, Scott was not selected for either position—and he filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging violations of the ADA. The case was scheduled to go to trial in federal court in Dallas when the trucking company agreed to settle.

Note: In 2011, the EEOC handled 21% more ADA charges than it did in 2009, when ADA coverage was broadened with the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act.

Advice: Never assume an apparently disabled applicant cannot perform a job’s essential functions without testing that assumption. Also remember that you may not refuse to hire a quali­­­­fied individual simply because he or she needs a disability accommodation.

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