Federal Agency Charged that Beauty Supply Company Illegally Refused Job to Deaf Individual
CHICAGO – Voyant Beauty, LLC will pay $75,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC charged in its suit that Voyant terminated an employee on her first day of work upon learning that she is deaf. The company did so even though she was qualified for the job and could have performed its essential functions with or without accommodation. According to the lawsuit, Voyant made the unfounded assumption that, because she is deaf, the employee could not safely work as a production worker at the company’s Countryside, Illinois, facility.

Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s disability, unless an accommodation would impose an undue hardship. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Civil Action No.1:23-cv-014023), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree resolving the lawsuit, Voyant will pay $75,000 in compensation to the deaf individual. Voyant will also provide training to relevant management employees on federal laws prohibiting disability discrimination and will report to the EEOC on the hiring of disabled applicants for the decree’s duration.

“Relying on unfounded stereotypes about an individual’s disability in making employment decisions is illegal,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “A decision not to hire someone with a disability based on a safety concern must be based on an individualized assessment of the person’s actual ability to safely perform the essential functions of the job, potentially with accommodations. The ADA requires this to be determined based on objective evidence, not assumptions or guesswork.”

For more information on disability discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination.

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is charged with enforcing federal employment discrimination laws in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

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.