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Company Pays $150,000 Over Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

A disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC

Cloudbeds., a global tech company, will pay $150,000 to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to an EEOC press release, Cloudbeds failed to provide an accommodation to Peter St. John, a well-qualified candidate in IT administration who is deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Cloudbeds terminated his candidacy on the basis that verbal communication and hearing were job requirements for this position in a remote setting.

However, EEOC determined that this violated the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA, which mandates employers to engage with job applicants to identify and provide reasonable accommodations. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified applicants based on their disability. The EEOC filed a discrimination lawsuit against Cloudbeds after first trying to reach a settlement through its conciliation process.

What Constitutes Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?

Disability discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant unfavorably because of their disability, leading to unfair disadvantages or adverse actions due to their disability status. Several scenarios can constitute disability discrimination in the workplace:

Failure to provide reasonable accommodations: Employers are required, under laws such as the ADA in the United States, to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities. Discrimination can occur if an employer fails to make reasonable adjustments that would enable the employee to perform their job effectively, unless providing such accommodations would cause undue hardship to the employer.

Hiring and promotion discrimination: Refusing to hire or promote a qualified individual solely based on their disability status constitutes discrimination. Similarly, segregating or limiting job assignments based on disability rather than skills or qualifications is discriminatory.

Harassment: Subjecting an employee to harassment, mockery, or offensive remarks related to their disability is a form of discrimination. This includes creating a hostile work environment due to the person’s disability.

Termination or retaliation: Firing, demoting, or retaliating against an employee for asserting their rights under disability discrimination laws or requesting reasonable accommodations is unlawful.

Unfair policies and practices: Having policies or practices that disproportionately affect employees with disabilities and do not have reasonable justifications can be discriminatory. For instance, inflexible attendance policies that fail to consider disability-related absences.

Employers must engage in an interactive process with employees requesting accommodations and make efforts to reasonably accommodate their needs. The ADA and similar laws aim to protect employees from disability discrimination in the workplace, ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment for individuals with disabilities.

What to Do If You Are Facing Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

If you encounter disability discrimination in the workplace, it’s essential to take specific steps to address the situation and protect your rights:

  • Document incidents. Keep detailed records of any discriminatory acts, including dates, times, witnesses, and descriptions of the discriminatory behavior or actions.
  • Review company policies. Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies on discrimination, harassment, and accommodations for employees with disabilities. This can serve as a reference when addressing the issue.
  • Inform management or human resources. Report the discrimination to your employer’s human resources department or higher management. Follow the company’s designated procedure for reporting discrimination or file a formal complaint according to their guidelines.
  • Request accommodations. If you require reasonable accommodations to perform your job due to a disability, formally request them from your employer. Make sure to provide any necessary documentation from healthcare professionals supporting your request.
  • Seek legal counsel. Consider consulting an attorney specializing in employment law or disability rights. They can provide guidance on your legal rights, offer advice on how to proceed, and represent you if necessary.
  • File a charge with EEOC. If the issue remains unresolved, you can file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the relevant employment discrimination agency in your country. They can investigate your claim and potentially take legal action on your behalf.

Remember, documenting incidents, following company procedures, requesting accommodations, and seeking legal advice are crucial steps in addressing disability discrimination in the workplace and seeking justice.

Damages in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Cases

Damages for disability discrimination in the workplace can vary based on the specifics of the case and the applicable laws. Potential damages may include:

  • Compensatory damages: These cover financial losses resulting from the discrimination, including lost wages, benefits, or out-of-pocket expenses due to the discriminatory actions.
  • Punitive damages: In cases of egregious conduct or intentional discrimination, courts may award punitive damages to punish the employer and deter similar behavior in the future.
  • Emotional distress: Compensation for emotional suffering, mental anguish, stress, or anxiety caused by the discrimination may also be sought.
  • Attorney’s fees and legal costs: If you prevail in your discrimination claim, the court might order the employer to cover your attorney’s fees and the expenses incurred in pursuing the case.
  • Reinstatement or front pay: In some instances, you may be entitled to reinstatement to your position or receive front pay instead if reinstatement isn’t feasible.

If you are facing disability discrimination in the workplace, it is critical that you seek the counsel of an experienced California workplace discrimination lawyer right away. This step will help you protect your rights and put you in the best possible position to hold your employer or former employer accountable.


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