According to a federal lawsuit, a woman hired to work in a warehouse found out her job had been terminated days after she was meant to start. According to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a national staffing agency revoked her employment contract because she is deaf. However, the e-commerce business, which manages the warehouse, had fully supported her as an employee at their warehouse in Maryland. The government said that preventing the woman, who mostly communicates through sign language, from working at the warehouse violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit says the situation dates back to November 2021, when Lyneer Staffing delivered the woman’s application to Whitebox, the e-commerce company. The company was informed at that time that the woman is deaf. She was hired by Whitebox shortly after, and according to the lawsuit, she was due to start on November 23. However, according to the complaint, a Lyneer Staffing manager told Whitebox the day before that she had canceled the woman’s position because she is deaf on Nov. 22.
Lyneer Staffing ignored the woman when she contacted them that day to confirm her start time. Eight days later a representative contacted her. The representative told her in a text message “they did not have sign language interpreters and therefore could not place her” with the job, according to the complaint.
The woman was fully qualified to do the job. She experienced emotional pain, lost wages and embarrassment according to the EEOC. The EEOC announced in a Feb. 24 press release that Lyneer Staffing, LLC would pay $119,400 to settle the lawsuit.
As part of the settlement, Lyneer Staffing would implement a new policy to ensure deaf applicants can access American Sign Language interpreters. Managers will also receive training on offering acceptable accommodations. Lyneer Staffing will also keep the organization updated on how it handles potential future allegations of disability discrimination.
Many deaf people have trouble finding work. In United States, there is a considerable job gap between deaf and hearing persons according to the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes. In 2017, just 53.3% of deaf persons were employed, compared to 75.8% of hearing people. This represents a 22.5% employment gap.
Amanda Koller is profoundly deaf. In 2019, she was working on her second master’s degree. She estimated that she had applied for more than 1100 different jobs, but had received no full time, permanent, offers. Koller said she couldn’t even get a job at a grocery store.
Many disabled individuals want to work and can contribute in this way. They may need accommodations to do their jobs. Data, however, shows that they are dependable, creative and hardworking. Disabled people can be valuable assets in the workplace. Employers, on the other hand, will not notice this if disabled people are not hired.
“All in: Easterseals Plan for Disability Equity.” Easterseals, Easterseals,
Garberoglio, Carrie Lou, et al. Deaf people and employment in the United States: 2019. 2019.
Marnin, Julia. “Woman Gets Hired for Job — Then Position Is Pulled Because She’s Deaf …” The Miami Herald , The McClatchy Company , 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article272627912.html.
Morris, Amanda. “Deaf and Unemployed: 1,000+ Applications but Still No Full-Time Job.” NPR, NPR, 12 Jan. 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/01/12/662925592/deaf-and-unemployed-1-000-applications-but-still-no-full-time-job.