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06/12/2012

Dallas transport company agrees to pay $50,000 to resolve federal disability suit

Everything seemed to be going the job applicant’s way. Ada

With a resume boasting a bachelor’s degree in economics and management and a master’s degree in business administration, he was contacted by Stevens Transport of Dallas. After an interview via telephone, he was scheduled for an in-person interview for two open positions.

When he arrived at the interview, however, the company saw that he was a paraplegic. 

The Dallas refrigerated transport company agreed June 7 to pay $50,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.

Stevens management told the applicant at the in-person interview that there was some concern he would not be able to keep up with the pace of operations.  After several weeks of communication with the company,  the applicant was ultimately informed that he had not been selected for hire into either of the positions, despite his qualifications.

The EEOC said refusing to hire a qualified applicant because of his disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The agency filed suit after failing to reach a voluntary settlement. 

The man “was very disappointed that Stevens stopped considering him as a viable candidate once they saw he was in a wheelchair,” said Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office.

More than 25,700 ADA charges were filed with the EEOC in fiscal year 2011, an increase of 21 percent from 2009, when amendments of the act broaden ADA coverage.

-- Darren Barbee

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