A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last Thursday showed that a woman who tried to apply for a sales job at a store was rejected when the manager discovered that she was autistic. The suit was filed by EEOC in a New Hampshire District court. Ashley Waxman, the job seeker was reportedly turned down at one of the Party City stores operating in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Waxman officially complained to the EEOC and alleged that the Party City store was violating the provision of Americans with Disabilities Act. This Act has an express prohibition to the effect that employers are not allowed to discriminate based on any form of disability. The Act further stipulates that any such employee with a disability should be reasonably accommodated and that includes giving room for the use of a coach while on the job.
The EEOC in July discovered that the store was in violation of the express provision of this Act. The Commission attempted to commence negotiations with the store so as to eliminate all the discriminatory practices as well as provide the appropriate relief . However, the negotiation failed and the EEOC resorted to a lawsuit upon the failure.
EEOC’s director in charge of the New York D.O, Kevin Berry, noted that employers are not allowed to refuse offering reasonable accommodation as stipulated by the law as long as such offer does not cause undue hardship to the employer.
Barry added that in the circumstances, the availability of a coach would have helped Waxman with the tasks required of her job, and she would have been able to learn about the job. For that, the store wouldn’t have had to make any payment and that amounted to a totally reasonable accommodation which wouldn’t have caused the store any form of hardship whatsoever.
Party City has however stated that it is unable to give any comment bordering on the litigation.
Details Of Complaint
The complaint stated that Waxman has severe anxiety and autism. Further, the complaint highlights that the applicant who was still a senior in a high school at that time had gone to the store sometime last year in October to submit her application for sales job. Waxman had been told that the store was in need of workers for the approaching holiday season.
However, a manager got to know about Waxman’s autism and the fact that there was a need for an employment coach, and said that employees like Waxman didn’t make good workers. The reason she gave was reportedly that such employees usually slept while on duty, played around with the store’s props and usually listened to music with their headphones rather than doing their work.
The complaint further included that the manager was informed that Waxman in the past had shadowed other sales workers and was a volunteer at a daycare facility, but the manager still wasn’t interested. The complaint indicated that the applicant wasn’t hired and the store went ahead to hire six other sale associates within nine days after Waxman’s failed application at the store.
The lawsuit expressly requests that Party City ceases from taking part in discriminatory practices on the basis of disabilities. Further, it demands that it puts into place sufficient policies for the promotion of equal opportunities for every worker and also policies to reasonably accommodate qualified individuals who had any form of disability. The suit is also demanding compensation for the applicant, although the amount of compensation is yet to be determined.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The federal agency is in charge of the administration and enforcement of civil rights statutory provisions against discrimination in the workplace. The agency functions to investigate complaints of discrimination based on the complainant’s children, race, sex, disability, gender identity, national origin, genetic information, religion, or as a retaliation for an individual’s reporting and also for opposing any form of discriminatory practice.
The commission is at liberty to apply its investigative policy for compliance in a case when the respondents are not cooperative during the investigation process. Also, when a respondent doesn’t provide the requested information, they can subpoena the respondent for information or directly bring an action.