A few months ago, I blogged about a lawsuit in which the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that an employer denied a deaf job applicant’s accommodation request and terminated his candidacy because verbal communication and hearing were job requirements for the position in a remote setting.
Late last month, that case settled for $150,000.
But writing a check is only the beginning for this employer.
You may be wondering what else it takes to settle these EEOC lawsuits. Here’s how the EEOC described the non-monetary (equitable) relief that the employer must provide as part of the settlement:
In addition to updates to the company’s reasonable accommodation policy and annual training for management and human resource employees about discrimination law, [the company] will issue an annual executive video message on the company’s commitment to ensuring that people who are deaf and hard of hearing are provided reasonable accommodations. The company’s human resource personnel will also complete an online training focused on integrating deaf employees into the workplace, and [the company] will designate one human resources team member to complete additional training on assistive technologies that deaf or hard of hearing employees or applicants may use to communicate in the workplace.
The employer must also make specific job postings on a job board targeting deaf applicants with a specific notice that affirms that the employer is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals, including deaf applicants.
Plus, the company must contract with an ASL vendor when needed to provide accommodations, post notices in the workplace, and create a tracking system for accommodation requests for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.
The final Consent Decree, which is over 20 pages, is a public document filed with the court to memorialize the settlement.
An employer entering into one of these settlements with the EEOC generally does not have to admit that it violated the law.
But the juice is definitely not worth the squeeze.