Mich.: Disability Network Settles Disability Bias Lawsuit

By Diane Cadrain Dec 16, 2014
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Disability Network, a nonprofit organization that fosters independent living for people with disabilities, will pay $38,500 to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged that the Metropolitan Detroit Center for Independent Living, d/b/a Disability Network /Wayne County, denied reasonable accommodations to a deaf employee who worked as an independent living specialist. The agency contended that the organization rejected the employee’s request for TTY equipment, a video phone and the ability to use text messaging, that it also failed to provide him with any alternatives, and finally fired him because he is deaf.

The EEOC attempted pre-litigation settlement, and when that effort failed, brought the organization to court.

In the resulting settlement, Disability Network will pay $38,500 in monetary relief and has also agreed to require employee training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to avoid violations in the future.

“The hypocrisy of this non-profit--whose very mission is to help disabled individuals--disadvantaging and then firing someone because of a disability--is mind-boggling,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. “Disability Network, of all people, should understand the importance of working toward reasonable accommodations for a deaf employee. It only goes to show that the EEOC has its work cut out for it - and we will certainly continue our fight for the rights of the disabled.”

Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.

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