What, A Wheelchair? Do Not Hire Him

I often wonder what sort of anti-discrimination training senior management folks receive when they so blatantly act in contravention of the law.   And what fuels such fears and myths about people with disabilities.

The latest case filed by the EEOC is a good example of such fears and behavior, which, in this case, run afoul of the ADA.

Wheelchair, Disability, Injured

The EEOC alleges that a mobile phone retailer which operates 30 wireless stores in Texas, revoked a job offer because the applicant for the retail sales position uses a wheelchair. He was interviewed, received the offer, passed his pre-employment background check and drug test and the district manager was ready to start him.

However, the district manager learned that the company’s vice president refused to hire people in wheelchairs, and even when the district manager advised the VP that the applicant “did not appear to have any problems moving around the store in his wheelchair during his job interview,” she still refused his hiring, and the district manager was directed not to answer his calls, and if he entered the store to tell him that the company had “promoted from within.”

An EEOC District Director said: “As in this case, when a worker has a disability but is qualified to perform a job, an employer’s unfounded fears and biases are not valid excuses to deny equal employment opportunities.”

Takeaway:  Get rid of your old fears, stereotypes and the myths that you harbor about people with disabilities, or pregnant employees.  Or else these folks and the EEOC will help you do so.

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]