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Disability services provider settles lawsuit

Even people in organizations dedicated to providing services to peoples with disabilities have prejudices that can result in discriminatory behavior. Case in point is a disability services provider in Northern California's Solano County, Pace Solano. The agency has settled a discrimination suit brought by a woman whose job offer was rescinded when she disclosed that one of her hands is partially paralyzed.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which brought the disability discrimination suit on behalf of the woman, announced that under a five-year consent decree, Pace Solano will pay $130,000 to the woman. The organization, which provides training services to people with developmental disabilities, also agreed to implement measures to prevent this discrimination from reoccurring. These include providing training to personnel involved in hiring and those in supervisory positions, as well as developing written policies regarding disability discrimination. Pace Solano will have to report to EEOC periodically on the status of their hiring and training.

According to the lawsuit, during a pre-employment physical exam the woman had after being offered an instructor position, she mentioned that her left hand was partially paralyzed. Even though she completed all tests given by Pace Solano's occupational health provider successfully, the agency withdrew the job offer because of her hand.

Spokespeople for the EEOC praised the outcome of the lawsuit and reiterated their commitment to enforcing the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). They noted that the EEOC makes enforcement of the ADA a priority and that employers who equate disability with inability to do a job will be required to rectify their actions.

As the woman at the center of the lawsuit noted after the settlement, people in the workplace with disabilities just want an opportunity to show what they can do, without having their abilities prejudged or underestimated. One would think that people who work in an organization that helps developmentally-disabled clients who are constantly prejudged would understand that. However, just because people are educated on one type of disability does not mean that they are enlightened about other types. That's why anti-discrimination laws will likely always be necessary, and agencies that enforce them must be vigilant.

The Reporter, "Solano County discrimination lawsuit settled" No author given, Oct. 18, 2013

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