Washington, DC - The Department of Justice Monday announced that it reached a settlement agreement with York County, South Carolina, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreement resolves the Department’s lawsuit alleging that the county discriminated against an applicant on the basis of his disability, dwarfism, when he sought to apply for a Purchasing Manager position.
The complaint alleges that York County required applicants for the Purchasing Manager position to possess a driver’s license even though having a driver’s license is not essential to performing the job functions of the position. By requiring a driver’s license, the county unfairly screened out the applicant, who because of his disability does not possess a driver’s license, but who was otherwise qualified for the position. Additionally, the complaint alleges that York County failed to provide the applicant with a reasonable accommodation, such as waiving the driver’s license requirement, that would have allowed him to participate in the application process.
The settlement agreement requires York County to revise its policies to ensure compliance with the ADA, designate an ADA Coordinator, ensure that its job listings list only essential job functions as mandatory requirements, train relevant employees on the ADA, and report to the Department of Justice on implementation of the agreement. York County will also pay the applicant $20,000 in compensatory damages. This matter was based on a referral from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Charlotte District Office, which conducted a thorough investigation of the facts.
“Unnecessary barriers in the hiring process can lead to discrimination against individuals with disabilities who are seeking employment,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to fighting for equal opportunity in job competition and applauds York County for agreeing to eliminate extraneous job requirements that may limit their pool of potential employees.”
“People with disabilities deserve the opportunity to compete for jobs on a level playing field,” said U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon. “This settlement agreement ensures that people with disabilities will have an equal chance to compete for public sector jobs. We commend York County for its cooperation and efforts to ensure accessibility and fairness in the job application process.”