DETROIT — Powerlink Facilities Management Services, a Michigan-based management and maintenance services company, will pay $25,000 and provide other relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Powerlink violated federal law by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to a deaf employee. The company uses training videos during its employee orientation. Instead of providing the employee with an accommodation to participate in the orientation, Powerlink claimed she could not complete the process because its videos did not have closed-captioning for the hearing-impaired. The employee was unable to complete the orientation and start work for about two months.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC sued Powerlink in the Eastern District Court of Michigan (EEOC v. Powerlink Facilities Management Services, LLC, Case No. 2:19-cv-12055).
In addition to the monetary relief, the two-and-a-half-year consent decree settling the suit provides for injunctive relief, training on the ADA, and reporting to the EEOC.
“Failing to provide deaf applicants or employees a reasonable accommodation violates the ADA,” explained Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for the EEOC. “Powerlink should be commended for agreeing to this consent decree and taking steps to resolve this case prior to trial.”
According to its website, Powerlink Facilities Management Services was started in 2003. The company has hundreds of employees working in the United States and Canada.
The EEOC’s Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.