Federal Agency Charges Warehouse Worker Was Rejected for Being Deaf

TACOMA – Western Washington staffing and recruiting company Logic Staffing LLC has agreed to pay $170,000 and implement hiring policy and procedure changes to settle a federal disability lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s investigation found that when a well-qualified job applicant used Video Relay Service (VRS) to return a call to the recruiter, he was told that his inability to hear would pose a safety risk. Although the applicant repeatedly explained that he had successfully performed similar work in the past without any safety issues, the recruiter stated that Logic Staffing did not hire people who are deaf and ended the call.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits rejecting a qualified applicant because of a disability. After an investigation by EEOC Investigator Isabel Jeremiah and after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit (CIV# 18-CV-1594) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Under the 3 1/2 -year consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton, Logic Staffing will pay $170,000 to the applicant, hire an ADA consultant to assist in the development of policies, procedures and training, and provide reports throughout the duration of the decree to the EEOC. The company will also post notices about the new policies and procedures on its website, job announcements and company bulletin boards.

“It meant so much to me to find someone who genuinely cared about my rights as the EEOC representative did when I first contacted the agency,” said the applicant. “I was amazed that I was provided a sign language interpreter throughout the whole process so I could communicate my needs and make my voice heard.”

Nancy Sienko, director of the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office, said, “Employers must not let stereotypes dictate hiring decisions. We hope that this case encourages job applicants to come forward if they believe they have been rejected based on a disability.”

Seattle-based EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney John Stanley said, “This result allows this worker to move on with the reassurance that the law protects his right to pursue work he is well qualified to do, while the changes in policies, procedures and training at Logic Staffing ensure that future applicants with disabilities can be judged by their merits and qualifications.”

Logic Staffing’s website lists offices in Tacoma, Sumner and Kent, Wash. In 2017, it placed more than 900 temporary employees in Western Washington.

The EEOC offers direct video access to ASL Speakers. Deaf and hard-of-hearing callers can access the toll-free ASL videophone line at 844-234-5122, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

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.