EEOC Sues Broadleaf and Conduent for Disability Discrimination

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Business Services Provider and Staffing Agency Failed to Accommodate Customer Care Representative and Fired Her Based on Hearing Impairment, Federal Agency Charges

NEW YORK – Conduent State and Local Solutions, Inc., a business services provider that operates the New York E-ZPass toll collection system, and Broadleaf Results, an employment agency, violated federal law when they both failed to accommodate a customer service representative’s disability and then fired her, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee was placed by Broadleaf to work as a customer service representative at Conduent’s E-ZPass Customer Service Center in Staten Island, N.Y. The emp­loyee notified Broadleaf and Conduent supervisors that she was having difficulties hearing customer calls and requested an accommodation for her hearing-related impairment. Despite being told that her disability could be accommodated, neither employer initiated the process necessary to identify a suitable accommo­dation for her disability. The employee requested a meeting with management to discuss the status of her accommodation request. However, the employee was told by Broadleaf management, “If you cannot hear, then you can’t do the job,” and was terminated, effective immediately. Following the emp­loyee’s termin­ation, Conduent made no efforts to investigate whether this discharge was appropriate.

Such alleged conduct violates the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that employers engage with applicants and employees to provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities and prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against qualified employees based on their disability. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EEOC v. Broadleaf Results, Inc. and Conduent State and Local Solutions, Inc, Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-4557) after first attempting to reach pre-litigation settlements through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks relief designed to remedy and prevent discrimination based on disability. The case will be litigated by EEOC Trial Attorney Edumin Corrales and EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Kimberly Cruz.

“The law requires employers, whether a staffing agency or client employer, to engage with employees to provide reasonable accommodation for disabilities and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office. “In this case, neither employer effectively engaged in the interactive process, but instead terminated the employee — a clear violation of federal law.”

Timothy Riera, acting director of the New York District Office, said, “It is critical for staffing agencies and their client employers to understand that the ADA imposes separate obligations on each employer to engage in the interactive process and to prevent discrimination against employees.”

EEOC Trial Attorney Edumin Corrales added, “ADA compliance should not result in finger pointing among responsible employers. Instead, employers should work together to accommodate employees with disabilities and prevent discrimination for the benefit of all parties.”

For more information on disability discrimination, please visit Disability Discrimination | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov)

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

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