The Justice Department today announced that it reached an agreement with the Commissioner of the Revenue for Caroline County, Virginia, in his official capacity (the “Commissioner”) to resolve the department’s lawsuit alleging disability discrimination in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The department’s complaint alleges that a former Caroline County Commissioner of the Revenue terminated an employee with a respiratory impairment on the basis of her disability, after almost 24 years of service. According to the complaint, after a period of medical leave, the employee requested to return to work with reasonable accommodations for her speaking and walking restrictions. The complaint alleges that the Commissioner denied the employee’s request and required her to return to work in full-duty capacity; it then fired her when she could not do so.
Title I of the ADA prohibits covered employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability in employment. Discrimination includes failing to provide reasonable accommodations if the accommodations do not pose an undue hardship to the employer. An informal, interactive process may be needed to identify appropriate reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations include acquiring equipment or devices, among other things.
“Reasonable accommodations enable many people with disabilities to work and, as a result, achieve economic self-sufficiency and full participation in the workforce,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. “The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to become and remain employed, so that they can pursue their goals, contribute to their communities, and earn a living.”
Under the agreement, the Commissioner, among other things, will pay $75,000 in back pay and compensatory damages to the former employee. The Commissioner and the Caroline County Human Resources Manager also will attend a presentation on Title I of the ADA.
This matter was based on a referral from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Norfolk Local Office.
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the ADA. The Justice Department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. Please visit the department’s ADA Anniversary webpage to learn more about the ADA’s history and impact.
To read the settlement agreement, please click here, and to read the complaint, please click here. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the ADA, please call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.