Disabled People And Employment Discrimination: Why Does It Happen?

A nationwide employment firm with an office in Orem, UT, has been penalized for failing to hire a qualified applicant due to her disability. Elwood Staffing Inc.’s Orem office will pay $77,500 and provide other compensation as part of a settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to resolve a disability discrimination case, the agency said on Monday.

In addition to the $77,500 in damages, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit compels Elwood Staffing’s Utah offices to amend its anti-discrimination policies, investigate allegations of disability discrimination immediately and fully, teach all workers — including temporary associates — on anti-discrimination, and provide reports on training, complaints of discrimination, and any adjustments to policies and procedures to the EEOC, according to the lawsuit.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC claimed that Elwood Staffing revoked a conditional job offer because the candidate doesn’t have a left hand. The EEOC claimed that Elwood Staffing failed to provide any reasonable accommodations to the candidate and then opted not to hire her because of her disability and/or need for accommodations.

This is only one of the numerous examples of discrimination against employees with disabilities that have been documented recently. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Andersen Corp. is settling a discrimination claim that the business withdrew a job offer after learning of an applicant’s disability. Per a news release issued by the agency on October 12, the Bayport, Minnesota-based window and door maker will pay the man $41,000 and abide by a set of criteria meant to “build a more inclusive workplace for people with disabilities.”

According to the press release, Andersen withdrew a job offer in 2019 after determining an applicant could not properly operate a forklift. However, the man’s doctor stated that he could operate a forklift. In addition, using a forklift was not an essential part of the job.

In another case, federal officials filed a lawsuit against Keystone, a well-known northern Indiana RV manufacturer, on September 28 for allegedly discriminating against an employee because of his disability. According to the lawsuit, a disabled employee was fired because he needed time off for appointments and surgery. The company was reportedly aware of his cystinuria.

Cystinuria is a hereditary metabolic disorder characterized by elevated levels of undissolved cystine and three chemically related amino acids in the urine, including arginine, lysine, and ornithine. Crystals and stones (calculi) may form in the kidney, bladder, and/or urinary tract as a result of too much cystine in the urine. While some people with cystinuria never develop stones, others do.

Due to my Cerebral Palsy, I have also been denied accommodations in the workplace. I require help with activities of daily living and hire PCAs to help me with bathing, using the bathroom, and getting dressed, among other tasks. My request for this accommodation is always denied when I bring it up to prospective employers. I have applied to hundreds of jobs since 2019. Stop And Shop refused to hire me because I can’t walk up a flight of stairs. In April, the manager of a Homewood Suites hotel rescinded my interview after I disclosed my disability.

Given how widespread discrimination in employment is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in September of this year, Americans with disabilities had a 7.3% unemployment rate, more than double the national average. Additionally, those without disabilities are three times more likely to be employed than those with disabilities. In the United States, 19.1% of people with a disability worked last year.

Many disabled people want to work and can contribute in this way. We may require accommodations to do our jobs. However, data shows that we are reliable, creative, and hardworking, but employers will never see that if we are discriminated against.


“All in: Easterseals Plan for Disability Equity.” Easterseals, Easterseals, https://www.easterseals.com/our-programs/employment-training/all-in/.

“Cystinuria.” NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), National Organization for Rare Disorders, 4 June 2020, https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/cystinuria/.

Johnson, Brooks. “State Settles with Andersen Windows over ‘Refusal’ to Hire Applicant with Disability.” Star Tribune, Star Tribune Media Company, LLC, 12 Oct. 2022, https://www.startribune.com/state-settles-with-andersen-windows-over-refusal-to-hire-applicant-with-disability/600215045/.

Pugmire, Genelle. “Orem Staffing Service to Pay in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit.” The Daily Herald, Ogden Newspapers, 18 Oct. 2022, https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/2022/oct/18/orem-staffing-service-to-pay-in-disability-discrimination-lawsuit/.

Roberts, Lily, et al. “Removing Obstacles for Disabled Workers Would Strengthen the U.S. Labor Market.” Center for American Progress, Center for American Progress, 23 May 2022, https://www.americanprogress.org/article/removing-obstacles-for-disabled-workers-would-strengthen-the-u-s-labor-market/.

Rayes, Adam. “Feds Allege Keystone RV Discriminated against Worker with Disability.” Indiana Public Media, Indiana Public Media, 3 Oct. 2022, https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/feds-allege-keystone-rv-discriminated-against-worker-with-disability.php.

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