Federal Agency Claimed Software Publisher Failed to Provide Reasonable Accommodation to Qualified Applicant with Hearing Loss
SAN FRANCISCO – Foster City-based software publisher Guidewire Software, Inc. will pay $200,000 and hire a consultant to facilitate changes to its policies and training practices to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Guidewire invited a qualified applicant to participate in a phone screening for a position at the company based on her online application and resume. The applicant asked to have an in-person interview to accommodate her limited ability to clearly hear sounds via telephone and computer. But after briefly discussing potential accommodations with the applicant, and despite internally approving her request for an in-person interview, Guidewire never contacted her again, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on disability or perceived disability. The EEOC filed suit on Oct. 22, 2019 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, Case No. 5:19-cv-06878-LHK, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.
The consent decree settling the lawsuit provides $200,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to the applicant. Guidewire will also implement policies and procedures regarding reasonable accommodations, including permitting applicants to appeal denials of requests for accommodation. The company will also provide annual training to certain managers and human resource personnel, and report to the EEOC during the decree’s three-year term.
“This individual just wanted the chance to compete fairly with the other applicants for the job,” said EEOC Trial Attorney James H. Baker. “The law requires that employers provide applicants with disabilities with the reasonable accommodations needed to do just that.”
EEOC Director for the San Francisco District Office William Tamayo added, “Eliminating barriers in recruiting and hiring for individuals with disabilities is a top priority for the EEOC. We commend Guidewire’s willingness to promptly resolve this lawsuit and to implement robust ADA policies and procedures.”
In fiscal year 2019, the EEOC recovered over $116,000,000 stemming from alleged violations involving the ADA.
Guidewire is a software publisher for property and casualty insurers. Founded in 2001, it employs more than 2,200 employees at dozens of locations around the world.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.