EEOC: BlueCross/Blue Shield of Texas allegedly discriminated against deaf job applicant

By Mark Iandolo | Oct 3, 2017

DALLAS, Texas (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a lawsuit Sept. 26 against BlueCross/Blue Shield of Texas for allegations of disability discrimination.

"One of the commission's priorities is to remove barriers to employment for people with disabilities," said Suzanne Anderson, EEOC supervisory trial attorney. "Applicants with disabilities must be provided access to online application processes so they have a chance to present their qualifications to employers for open positions."

The EEOC alleges Sheryl Meador, who is deaf, applied to BlueCross/Blue Shield of Texas to be an open claims examiner. The process began online, and Meador sent her resume and filled out application forms. After this, BlueCross/Blue Shield of Texas sent her a 35-minute assessment exam that included an audio portion. The audio portion had no captions or other accommodations and thus Meador could not complete the exam. She contacted BlueCross/Blue Shield of Texas and asked for a reasonable accommodation. The company purportedly failed to properly respond.

"Sheryl Meador was very interested in the opportunity to apply for the claims examiner position,” said Joel Clark, senior trial attorney for the EEOC. “She made repeated efforts to communicate with BlueCross/Blue Shield of Texas and ask for an accommodation so she could apply. For her to be ignored is both unconscionable and unlawful."

The EEOC seeks lost wages and compensatory and punitive damages for Meador, as well as injunctive relief to prevent the company from committing discrimination in the future.

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