Georgia company settles disability discrimination lawsuit

Posted at 2:01 PM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-06 14:01:06-04

Georgia-based Capstone Logistics LLC will pay $50,000 and provide significant equitable relief as settlement for a federal disability and discrimination lawsuit filed by the US. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency said Friday. 

A deaf man applied for a position at the manufacturing and distribution company's Jessup, Md. warehouse. When the man came for an interview with the site manager, the meeting was canceled as the site manager said they would reschedule so that human resources and an interpreter could be present. The interview was then never rescheduled. 

According to the suit, the deaf man later received a text message from the site manager saying "we have determined that there is no job that we can offer that would be safe for you." The EEOC charges that Capstone never asked the applicant about his ability to perform any essential functions of a warehouse position, with or without reasonable accommodation, which would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division.

The three-year consent decree resolving the suit requires Capstone to pay $50,000 in monetary relief, bars the company from refusing to hire qualified individuals based on disability, including using unlawful qualification standards that tend to screen out qualified individuals without hearing capabilities, and a litany of other procedures to insure hiring is more fair and open in the future. 

“This settlement should remind all employers that any safety assessments must be based on objective, factual evidence regarding the individual’s present ability to do the job," said Jamie R. Williamson, district director of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, "and that employers must also determine whether a reasonable accommodation will eliminate or reduce any such risk.”