Energy Company Fired Employee Because She Has Dyslexia

Thursday, April 4, 2019

BALTIMORE  - Protocall Communications, Inc., a company that markets energy price  protection in eight states, will pay $31,000 and furnish significant equitable  relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

According  to the EEOC's lawsuit, Protocall officials at its Laurel, Md., headquarters  asked the employee with dyslexia if she had a learning disability. When she  said she did, the director of human resources told her there was no point in  continuing the training and denied the employee's request to be allowed to take  the script home to practice it and instead fired her, refusing to provide a  reasonable accommodation to a telemarketer trainee.

--- HR Classroom ADA Reasonable Accommodation Training Tips: Online ADA Training (Americans with Disabilities Act) that instructs an employee how to report problems at work, and assures them they will not be retaliated against for making a report, will often lessen the consequences of bad actors. Discipline and Termination Training, and Online Diversity Training of supervisors and employees may have prevented this costly case with the EEOC, and protected the employees involved. ---

Such  alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits  discrimination based on disability and requires employers to provide a  reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. The EEOC filed suit  (EEOC v. Protocall Communications, Inc., Civil  Action No. 8:18-cv-02535-TDC) in U.S. District Court for the District of  Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In  addition to the $31,000 in monetary relief to the employee, the two-year  consent decree resolving the suit provides substantial equitable relief,  including prohibiting Protocall from denying reasonable accommodations or  violating the ADA. The company will distribute its policies and procedures  prohibiting disability discrimination and addressing reasonable accommodations  to all employees and newly-hired employees. Protocall will train all managers,  supervisors and human resources personnel on the ADA and its reasonable  accommodation requirements. The company will report to the EEOC on how it  handled any internal complaints of discrimination. Protocall will post a notice  about the settlement and post notices required by EEOC regulations.

EEOC  Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "We commend Protocall Communications  for working with us to resolve this matter quickly and amicably. The settlement  not only compensates the employee for her lost wages and damages, but also  contains substantial equitable relief to protect all applicants and employees  from disability discrimination."

"Employers  must provide a reasonable accommodation, when needed, including during the initial  training period," said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson.  "Most accommodations cost nothing or have a typical cost of $500, according to  employer surveys conducted by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). EEOC and JAN  have free resources and guidance regarding reasonable accommodations on their  respective websites, and"

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