A “qualified” job candidate applied for an opening as a preschool teacher assistant. She made it successfully through several stages of the hiring process. Unfortunately, she was then discriminated against because of her disability, according to federal authorities.
In September 2021, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a disability lawsuit against the Pennsylvania employer, citing that the business violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to court records and a Jan. 19 news release, Excentia Human Services, also known as The Pai Corporation and the S. June Smith Center, has recently agreed to settle the case and pay the woman $100,000.
The woman applied to work for Excentia Human Services in February 2020. She was interviewed that month, according to the complaint. The interview went smoothly, and no concerns were noted.
Subsequently, she was asked to go to the workplace a month later. Two days after visiting the workplace, she received an email stating that she wouldn’t be hired, according to the complaint. Excentia Human Services said that they had chosen another candidate in the email.
The woman called the company later that same day. She was told she didn’t get the job due to perceived “limitations” caused by Cerebral Palsy. She emailed Excentia, wanting them to reconsider their decision. However, the company never contacted her again, according to the EEOC.
Ironically, Excentia Human Services is a Lancaster County, PA, nonprofit that provides services to people with developmental disabilities throughout their lives. Yet, they wouldn’t hire a disabled woman as an employee. According to their website, they provide residential services, supported employment, and speech therapy, among others.
The EEOC found that Excentia violated the ADA because the company discriminated against employees based on disability. Additionally, they failed to provide reasonable accommodations to the woman. Excentia must adopt new policies, provide ADA compliance training, and report to the EEOC regularly. They must also pay the woman $100,000 in back pay and damages.
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. Disabled people can be valuable assets in the workplace. Employers, however, won’t see that if they don’t hire us.
“All in: Easterseals Plan for Disability Equity.” Easterseals, Easterseals,
Alanis, Kaitlyn. “Teacher Assistant Didn’t Get Job Because of Disability: Feds Say.” The Miami Herald, The McClatchy Company, 20 Jan. 2023, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article271420542.html.
“About Us.” Excentia Human Services, Excentia Human Services, 17 Jan. 2023, https://excentiahumanservices.org/about/about-us/.