Company Must Pay $65K After Assuming Disabled Man Couldn’t Work as a Truck Driver
Job applicant already had 20 years of experience as a professional truck driver
Can a man who is missing an arm safely drive a truck? One hiring manager
thought the obvious answer was no.
But Robert Kallgren, who had been an amputee since he was a teenager, had worked as a professional truck driver for over 20 years. However, when he applied to work for a new company, the hiring manager assumed that Kallgren was unqualified for the job.
After Kallgren filed a complaint of disability discrimination, the company decided to settle the matter rather than defend its actions in court. It must pay Kallgren $65,000 as part of that settlement.
This case raises some interesting questions about how people’s assumptions may play into workers’ rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Let’s talk about what it means to you.
Perception v. reality
When it comes to disabilities, perception can be a powerful thing. Hiring managers who are trying to assess someone’s fitness for a particular job are likely to make assumptions about any number of things.
Unfortunately, that can be especially true when it comes to disabilities. As in the case we mentioned above, a manager may assume that someone is unfit for a certain job based on perceived limitations.
However, the ADA requires that employees and job applicants be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Employers are obligated to engage in an interactive process with the person to determine if he or she is able to do the job, either with or without accommodation.
That process often involves discussing whether an accommodation can help the person complete the main duties of the job. Companies may generally not deny job accommodations unless they would cause an undue hardship to the business.
An undue hardship might include purchasing equipment that is prohibitively expensive or having to implement a procedure that would be disruptive to business operations. However, it’s important to note that purchasing assistive devices is generally considered to be a reasonable accommodation.
For more information on the case above, see EEOC v. Flying J Transport.
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If you feel that you’ve been subjected to unlawful discrimination under the ADA, it’s wise to speak to an attorney to find out more about your rights under the law.Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.