ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit last week against the Salvation
Army, the global charitable organization, for allegations of refusing to hire a
young man with an intellectual disability for an entry-level job.
"This applicant was fully capable of doing this
entry-level job," said Nancy Sienko, director of EEOC's Seattle Field
Office. "Being judged by his disability instead of his actual abilities
and accomplishments was a big blow to a young person at the start of his job
search - and disadvantaged the Salvation Army as well."
According to the EEOC, a store manager at the Salvation Army recommended the applicant after a first interview. The applicant had
allegedly graduated from high school, completed a follow-up job readiness
program, finished multiple internships at a medical center and had a part-job
at his church.
Despite all this, the Salvation Army allegedly held a second
interview and made determinations based on his disability that he would have
trouble interacting with people.
"The ADA was enacted to ensure that employers evaluate
candidates based on individual merit rather than general stereotypes about what
people with intellectual disabilities can or cannot do,”
said EEOC attorney May Che. “We filed this suit to
ensure all workers have a level playing field and can participate in the
workforce to their fullest ability."
The EEOC seeks monetary damages for the applicant and injunctive
relief to stop potential violations of the ADA in the future.