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EEOC Says Placer ARC Failed To Accommodate Hearing-Impaired Employee

Prior to being transferred to the Roseville facility, Homeyra Kazerounian had successfully worked for Placer ARC in Auburn. The transition did not go well, however. Supervisors at the Roseville location failed to accommodate Kazerounian who is hearing-impaired and best communicates through American Sign Language. She was forced to communicate mainly through spoken English in mandatory staff meetings.

An ASL interpreter was provided for her at the Auburn location but not at the Roseville location. Kazerounian eventually resigned from her position and has now brought a disability discrimination and failure to accommodate lawsuit against her former employer.

The daily staff meetings were an opportunity was an opportunity for training that Kazerounian was unable to fully capitalize on because of her employer’s unwillingness to provide an interpreter, according to the EEOC. Kazerounian felt isolated and frustrated by the arrangement and felt that she had no other option but to quit her job despite having been successful in the role for three prior years.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is handling the lawsuit and asserts that the company failed to engage in the interactive process to find a reasonable solution that would allow Kazerounian to continue working at the Roseville location.

Ironically, Placer ARC, Kazerounian’s former employer, has a mission statement that revolves around helping those with disabilities live independently. Placer ARC’s Executive Director was quoted saying that the non-profit is “steadfastly dedicated to the support, education, and well-being of individuals with intellectual and development disabilities.”

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Feds sue Placer County disability group over deaf worker’s treatment,” March 27, 2013

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