Toys”R”Us Will Pay $35,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Toys”R”Us, Inc., one of the world’s largest retailers of toys and juvenile products, will pay $35,000 as well as provide significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit according to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Allegedly, according to the EEOC’s suit, after Shakirra Thomas applied for a team member position at the retailer, Toys”R”Us contacted her and requested she attend a group interview. Thomas’s mother told Toys”R”Us that Thomas was deaf and communicates through American Sign Language, reading lips and through written word, and thus required an interpreter for the interview. The retailer responded that Thomas would have to provide her own interpreter.
Thomas’s mother interpreted for her during the interview. According to the lawsuit the retailer refused to hire Thomas, despite her qualifications and ability to perform the team member position, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
Disability Discrimination by Employers Violates Americans with Disabilities Act
Disability discrimination in employment violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This Act ensures that employers provide reasonable accommodations where necessary to individuals with disabilities, including its applicants.
“This settlement should remind all employers that, absent an undue hardship, the ADA requires providing a reasonable accommodation to job applicants and employees who request one,” said EEOC District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. “Hiring decisions should be made based on an individual’s qualifications and not because of a disability.”
In addition to $35,000 in monetary relief awarded to Thomas, the three-year stipulated judgment admonishes Toys”R”Us from future discrimination on the basis of disability. Toys”R”Us will provide training to managers and supervisors regarding the ADA, which includes non-discriminatory interviewing and hiring practices. The retailer must also post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “We are pleased that Toys”R”Us worked with us to resolve this lawsuit. This settlement, including the extensive training provisions, should protect applicants and employees from disability discrimination.”
Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation