Law Office of David Miklas, P.A.

management labor & Employment law

Can I refuse hire an amputee to drive my business vehicle?

Imagine needing to hire an employee to drive a truck for your company.  You receive an application from a man who has more than 20 years of experience driving trucks.  You call him in for an interview and he shows up with only one arm.  The man explains that he had his arm amputated during his teenage years.  What do you do?  Hire him?

Recently a business was in this same position and it failed to hire the man because of his amputated arm.  After all, how can he drive a truck to transport goods with only one arm?

The man filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), which sued the employer on his behalf for disability discrimination.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employer violated federal law by denying hire to the truck driver because he had an amputated arm.  Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Essentially, the company made an assess­ment, without evidence or proof, that there was no accommodation that would allow the applicant to do the job safely, and failed to engage in an interactive process of exploring that with him. Civil Action No.2:17-cv-00070-J.

Although the employer denied the allegations in the EEOC’s lawsuit, last week the EEOC announced that the employer has agreed to pay $65,000 to settle the disability discrimination lawsuit.

The business also agreed to a consent decree in which the employer is enjoined from engaging in disability discrimination in the future.  The employer also agreed to other relief in addition to the money and injunction.  This means that the company will have to undertake measures to assure future compliance with the ADA.  The decree re­quires the company to train its managers with respect to the ADA’s requirements and to report complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC.  This last part is quite significant, and a common part of a settlement with the EEOC.  Not only does the employer have the monetary cost of settlement, the cost of its own attorneys’ fees, the cost of training, but for the next two years it has to alert the EEOC of any complaints of disability discrimination it receives.  Essentially this means that the EEOC will be looking over this employer’s shoulder, closely monitoring how it handles any such complaints.

If you need any assistance in determining whether the ADA applies to your Florida business or if you need guidance in engaging in an interactive process with a disabled applicant or employee, please email or call the Law Office of David Miklas, P.A. at 1-772-465-5111.

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