Today we will do a “takeaway” before and after we discuss an important new jury verdict in a disability case.
Takeaway: Reliance on discriminatory customer preferences and stereotypes about what individuals with disabilities can and cannot do violates the ADA.
Now the case – a new jury verdict in a case brought by the EEOC in favor of a licensed security guard who lost his arm in a car accident, and was fired by his Florida security company because the customer –the president of a community association – complained that “The company is a joke. You sent me a one-armed security guard.”
Apparently he failed to wear his prosthetic arm when he was driving around the community in a security vehicle. The EEOC contended that the employee did not need his prosthetic arm to perform his job, and that his employer never directed him to wear it.
One of the EEOC trial lawyers said that the guard “was vindicated when the jury agreed with him that he could perform the job he is licensed to do. He hopes that other employers will get the message that they cannot rely on stereotypes and assumptions, and must treat people based on their actual abilities.”
Back on February 8, 2013 we wrote about this same lawsuit at the time that the EEOC filed it. We said that “We have been cautioning employers recently that the EEOC has been targeting ‘fears, myths and stereotypes’ in hiring and firing.”
As we shouted out on January 10, 2013:
Employers beware! Do Not Refuse To Hire, and Don’t Fire Qualified Employees Based on Fears, Myths or Stereotypes!
There — our takeaway both at the beginning and at the end!