The EEOC “must be licking its chops,” we said in our post on June 14th. Why?
It achieved a PR coup in the form of a new lawsuit against a Detroit nonprofit which helps people with disabilities — appropriately named the “Disability Network” — for allegedly violating the ADA by discriminating against a deaf employee.
Disability Network allegedly fired a deaf “independent living specialist” for requesting “reasonable accommodations” — such as the use of TTY equipment, a video phone and the ability to use text messaging. It also allegedly refused to provide him with alternate accommodations.
Well, once again, an errant employer has “seen the light” – in the form of a newly-announced $38,500 settlement of the lawsuit.
EEOC Claims “Hypocrisy” Of Disability Network
An EEOC attorney was as forceful and strident as we have ever seen in commenting on the settlement:
“The hypocrisy of this non-profit – whose very mission is to help disabled individuals – disadvantaging and then firing someone because of a disability — is mind-boggling. Disability Network, of all people, should understand the importance of working toward reasonable accommodations for a deaf employee. It only goes to show that the EEOC has its work cut out for it – and we will certainly continue our fight for the rights of the disabled.”
Like Shooting Fish In A Barrel
Our post’s discussion this past June 14th was a classic example of our (now probably overused) terms “low hanging fruit” and “shooting in a barrel.”
What did we mean?
We meant the EEOC’s successful attempts at suing medical and healthcare providers under the ADA for allegedly discriminating against people with disabilities. “Irony” is what the EEOC once called it. Now the EEOC uses the word “hypocrisy.”
Is the EEOC offbase when it says that: “Disability Network was formed to help and protect people with disabilities – and so was the ADA.”
OK, folks. Time for a little refresher
If we could yell out our takeaway in this post, we would.
Why Does The EEOC Seemingly Target Healthcare Facilities For ADA Suits?
We have long and exhaustively warned medical and healthcare facilities — “easy pickins” we have dubbed them — that the EEOC was gunnin’ for ya if you so much as step over the line in violating the ADA. Why?
We asked before: “What is it about health and medical care facilities and personnel that brings down the heavy hand of the EEOC so often alleging ADA and pregnancy discrimination? Is it that they have an innate bias against the disabled and pregnant women, and discriminate more than other employers?”
Do Health Care People Violate the ADA and Pregnancy Act More Often Than Others?
Not likely, and we have seen nothing to substantiate this. So what is it?
In a post in April we speculated: “Could it be — yes, could it be that the EEOC sees such health care folks as a target as big as a house? You know, can the helping profession, there to treat the sick, disabled and pregnant, stand up to the negative PR that a discrimination suit typically brings if it is alleged that they discriminated against the very folks that they are there to minister to?”
Could it also be that the EEOC likely sees these cases as a chance to pad its won-lost record and bolster its recent legal hits in court?
Take a look at some of only a few of our prior posts if you think that we are joking or that the EEOC is joking – October 1, 2012 ; December 13, 2013; August 3, 2013, September 6, 2013; October 19, 2013 and January 9, 2014.”
On March 10th we found support for our speculation about the EEOC’s motives — from an EEOC official. He said that:
“Sometimes it looks like organizations engaged in the health care field or in the performance of other ‘good works’ consider it impossible for them to have discriminated — or to be challenged for having discriminated — particularly when it comes to the ADA. But our experience has been that all organizations, whatever their line of business and however they are organized, are vulnerable to falling into patterns or acts of discrimination if they do not consciously make compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws a priority. We are optimistic that the consent decree in this case will encourage that kind of compliance (emphasis added).”
As to this latest settlement of an ADA suit, an EEOC attorney said it best when the suit was commenced: “The irony in this case is incredible. Disability Network was formed to help and protect people with disabilities – and so was the ADA, under which we now have to sue them for violating their mandate and betraying an employee.”