Staffing Agency Rejected Warehouse Worker For Being Deaf, Federal Agency Charges
TACOMA, Wash. – A Western Washington staffing and recruiting company violated federal law when it refused to consider a qualified job applicant because he is deaf, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s investigation, Keysi Severino-Gomez applied online for warehouse positions in Tacoma advertised by Logic Staffing. Work he was well-qualified to perform. Severino-Gomez, who is deaf, utilized Video Relay Service (VRS) to return a call left by a Logic Staffing recruiter regarding his application. Realizing Severino-Gomez is deaf, the recruiter immediately told him he could not do the warehouse job and that his inability to hear would pose a safety risk. Severino-Gomez repeatedly noted he had successfully performed similar work in the past without any safety issues. The recruiter then placed Severino-Gomez on hold to consult with her manager, but returned to state that Logic Staffing did not hire people who are deaf and ended the call.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits rejecting a qualified applicant because of a disability. The EEOC filed suit (CIV# 18-CV-1594) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The EEOC’s lawsuit seeks lost wages, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.
“Mr. Severino-Gomez was highly qualified for the position to which he applied and deserved the opportunity to be judged based on his abilities instead of Logic Staffing’s unfounded and discriminatory beliefs,” said William Tamayo, the EEOC’s San Francisco district office director. “Congress enacted the ADA to prevent employers from refusing to hire qualified applicants based on myths, fears or stereotypes concerning disability.”
EEOC Regional Attorney Roberta Steele said, “This is the third lawsuit we’ve filed this year on behalf of a qualified deaf applicant denied the opportunity to interview, and we recently announced a settlement obtaining $88,000 and a job position for another qualified deaf job seeker. These are candidates with valuable skills and experience, and it is wrong to shut them out of the workplace based on fears and stereotypes about being deaf.”
EEOC Trial Attorney Linda Ordonio-Dixon said, “Employers cannot make a blanket decision to exclude job applicants because of a disability. The EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of employees, and job applicants, to ensure they are given the same opportunities in the workplace as any other person.”
According to www.logicstaffing.com, Logic Staffing has offices in Tacoma, Sumner and Kent, and, in 2017, placed more than 900 temporary employees in Western Washington.
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.