$130,000 Settlement in Disability Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit, Training Ordered

 
Thursday, February 7, 2013
 

Question:  Would disability discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.
D.O.E. Technologies, Inc. and a related company, doeLegal, LLC will pay $130,000 and furnish other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The Wilmington-based companies sell e-billing, electronic discovery and litigation management products to law firms and corporate legal departments.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Christopher Vely, a sales representative with unilateral conductive hearing loss, repeatedly asked the companies' management to provide the reasonable accommodation of permitting him to telecommute or to work in a quiet area because his disability impaired his ability to make sales calls from his cubicle in the companies' noisy sales office.  The companies initially allowed Vely to make calls from his home, but later rescinded his full-time telework arrangement, failed to provide an alternate reasonable accommodation, and refused to engage in the interactive process to determine a suitable alternate reasonable accommodation.  In addition, the companies fired Vely in retaliation for his request for a reasonable accommodation, the EEOC alleged.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability.  The law also requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer.  The EEOC filed suit its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Civil Action No. 11-cv-000861, after first attempting to resolve the matter through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $130,000 in monetary relief to Vely, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins D.O.E. Technologies and doeLegal from engaging in any adverse employment actions or retaliation in violation of the ADA and requires the companies to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.  The companies must provide training on the ADA to all managers and employees and distribute modified ADA reasonable accommodation and anti-retaliation policies.  The companies will post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit and will report to the EEOC regarding its compliance with the consent decree.

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