Nov 132010

From Business and Legal Reports, 10/19/10

A Dallas jury awarded $184,400 to a hearing-impaired job applicant who was refused a stock clerk position at Smith Personnel Solutions, a staffing company with four locations in Texas, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced.

The jury awarded $34,400 for lost wages and emotional harm and an additional $150,000 in punitive damages. According to EEOC, a screener for Smith refused to take the plaintiff’s application or to interview her, instead telling her through her interpreter that there were no openings. The screener also allegedly told her that she could be “dangerous” because she “couldn’t communicate.” The plaintiff had 3 years of experience as a stock clerk without any history of communication problems, EEOC reported.

The plaintiff “wasn’t asking for special treatment, just the chance to apply for a job,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Joel Clark. “Smith Personnel’s assumption that she couldn’t work just because she is deaf is the type of mistaken assumption that can be prevented through training and education.”

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– Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax