AT&T Pacific Bell Under Fire for Disability Discrimination Against Deaf Worker

Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) November 20, 2017 – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against AT&T Pacific Bell. The telecommunications company allegedly violated state and federal laws when it failed to provide a hearing-impaired employee with a sign language interpreter.

In its complaint, the federal agency accused AT&T Pacific Bell of denying a deaf employee’s request for reasonable accommodation that would allow him the possibility of meaningful interaction during the course of his employment. The employee was working in the company’s Fresno, California office.

“Employers are required by law to discuss and identify possible reasonable accommodations for employees who have a disability,” commented Strong Advocates Executive Director Betsy Havens, who is not involved with the case. “A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or modification that helps an employee with a disability perform his or her job duties.”

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The federal agency first engaged in a conciliation process with the company in an attempt to reach a settlement.

AT&T Pacific Bell’s alleged conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The lawsuit is seeking injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination by the employer as well as damages for the employee.

Reasonable accommodations that employers can provide include installing a ramp in the workplace for an employee who uses a wheelchair, or modifying the individual’s work schedule, among others. Employers must provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations so long as they would not pose excessive challenges for the employer.

“Refusing to participate in an open, honest interactive process with a disabled employee violates both federal and California disability discrimination law,” said Havens. “Employees who have experienced disability discrimination should contact Strong Advocates to find out about the steps they can take to stop the unfair and unlawful treatment at the hands of their employer.”

Strong Advocates
6080 Center Drive, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Phone: (310) 803-9820

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