Company fired deaf employee in Colorado, feds say
A Colorado company discriminated against a deaf employee when it fired her after she requested an American Sign Language interpreter for meetings, federal officials say.
The employee sued Pneuline Supply, a parts manufacturer based in Greeley — about 55 miles north of Denver — after it fired her in May 2018, court documents show.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Nov. 10 that Pneuline Supply would be required to pay the woman $44,250 and “provide other remedies” to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination based on on disability, according to a press release from the agency.
The company hired the employee as an assembler in 2017 and provided her with a certified ASL interpreter for her first few weeks, according to court documents. Later that year, the company also hired the employee’s daughter and began using her as an interpreter for the employee, even though she is not a certified ASL interpreter.
The employee began filing grievances with the company’s human resources department and requested that an official ASL interpreter be provided. In a grievance filed in March 2018, she said she was often excluded from work-related discussions, according to court documents.
The company repeatedly declined his request and in May 2018 told him that “emailing and/or writing down any questions or comments you have is always an option.” to you,” the court documents state. The employee, who is fluent in ASL, is not fluent in English. Fluent English is not a requirement for his job, according to court documents.
In late May 2018, the company terminated her “due to her hearing impairment, or due to the need to reasonably accommodate her hearing impairment,” court documents say.
Pneuline Supply declined a request for comment from McClatchy News.
The company will also be required to “review and update its disability discrimination and reasonable accommodation policies,” post an anti-discrimination notice, and train its managers and human resources staff on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“The ADA prohibits employers from terminating or refusing to hire employees simply because they may need to provide them with reasonable accommodation in the future,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill, who works in the Phoenix District Office of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. in a report. “Employers also cannot use a discrimination complaint as an opportunity to fire them. This is unlawful retaliation.