McPhee Electric and Bond Brothers to Pay $120,000 as Settlement in an EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. One of the six priorities of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) has been elimination of barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially the ones that are class-based or those that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities.

As per the agency, McPhee Electric Ltd. and Bond Brothers, Inc. are to pay $120,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit, wherein the agency complained that McPhee and Bond unlawfully refused to hire an applicant as a carpenter as he was suffering from dyslexia, a disability that substantially limits one’s ability to read. The companies were of the opinion that he would pose to be a safety risk. The applicant was refused despite the fact that he had fifteen years of experience as a carpenter, as also numerous construction safety training certifications and a clean safety record.

Such a conduct was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on their disabilities. After having first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed this suit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on May 1, 2014 (Civil Case No.: 14-CV-00587).

The consent decree calls for a settlement requiring both companies to provide training on employment discrimination laws, including the ADA. It also enforces on the monetary relief, requiring both the companies to distribute revised policies and procedures on non-discrimination, including procedures for requesting reasonable accommodations and making complaints, and finally to provide annual reports to the EEOC concerning all complaints of disability discrimination and requests for reasonable accommodations.

The regional attorney of the EEOC’s New York District Office, Robert D. Rose’s opinion on this case is that it “sends a strong message that is at the heart of the ADA — qualified individuals with disabilities deserve a fair opportunity to be considered for employment, and should not be rejected based on preconceived, unfounded notions about their limitations.”

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