RV Manufacturing Company Refused to Hire Deaf Applicant, Federal Agency Charges
DENVER - Carefree of Colorado, which manufactures and sells RV awnings and is located in Broomfield, Colorado, violated federal law when it refused to hire a candidate because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.
According to the EEOC's suit, Carefree refused to hire Anna Biryukova for two open positions, assembler and packer. Biryukova, who is deaf, had previous manufacturing experience and was qualified for both positions. Carefree refused to hire Biryukova after expressing concerns her disability could be a "challenge" and present "safety issues." Carefree also told a job developer representing Biryukova she could not work for the company because she is deaf.
Carefree also retaliated against Biryukova by refusing to consider her for future open positions because she and the job developer complained about discrimination and requested an accommodation.
Such alleged conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on disability and from retaliating against individuals who request accommodation or oppose disability-based discrimination.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. Carefree of Colorado, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-02530) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for Biryukova as well as injunctive relief prohibiting Carefree from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.
"Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, including recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "The EEOC will file suit, when necessary, to protect workers and qualified applicants from disability discrimination."
EEOC Denver Field Office Director Amy Burkholder said, "It is unlawful to refuse to hire applicants because they are hearing impaired. Hiring decisions should be made based on qualifications, not on fears or stereotypes about people with disabilities."
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.