Howard University Sued for Failing to Hire Applicant Due to Disability
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit last week claiming that Howard University violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant for a security position at its hospital because he had diabetes. According to the complaint, applicant Clarence Muse suffers from Type 2 diabetes that resulted in kidney failure.
Muse applied for two security guard positions with the university and went through several rounds of interviews for each position. His qualifications for the position included over 40 years of experience as a police officer and private security guard. During a discussion regarding Muse’s shift preference, he disclosed that he needed to work a shift that allowed him to continue taking dialysis treatments three mornings each week.
Muse was not offered either position and Howard University continued to solicit applications from other individuals to fill the positions. Ultimately, the university hired more than 40 security officers.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on their disabilities. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. Individuals with diabetes are able to successfully perform all types of jobs. However, according to the EEOC, many employers still automatically exclude them from certain positions based on misunderstood stereotypes. Additionally, an employee is allowed to request “reasonable accommodations” from their employer to better manage and control their condition.
Failing to hire an applicant because of any disability violates the ADA. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for Muse, as well as injunctive and other non-monetary relief.
If you have suffered from discrimination in the workplace, please contact Khorrami LLP for a private consultation.