A shortsighted hiring decision costs company $35k

Making assumptions based on stereotypes about an applicant’s fitness for work is a sure-fire way to get you in trouble, as an Indiana firm recently learned.  
C&A Tool Engineering Inc., a manufacturing-tooling company in Churubusco, IN, will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the  EEOC, the agency announced.
According to the lawsuit, a job applicant, an experienced and qualified machinist, applied and interviewed for a machinist’s job. After an interview, C&A Tool made a job offer conditioned on his passing a physical examination.
But then C&A Tool withdrew the job offer because the exam report referenced a possible vision impairment related to a congenital eye condition. The report didn’t substantiate that the applicant actually had a vision problem.
The EEOC claimed that C&A violated the ADA by withdrawing a job offer based on unsubstantiated stereotypical beliefs about a medical condition – and during the litigation, the parties’ expert ophthalmologists agreed the applicant had normal vision.
EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division after attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with C&A.

Other steps firm must take

Besides the monetary penalty, C&A also agreed to:

  • require its human resources supervisors and managers and business unit managers to attend a training seminar on disability discrimination
  • establish and maintain a disability policy
  • post a notice informing employees that federal law prohibits discrimination, and
  • report to EEOC over a five-year period the instances when it withdraws a job offer based on the results of its post-offer physical examination.

C&A also is required to engage in the interactive accommodation process whenever a qualified individual (employee or applicant for employment) with a disability requests a reasonable accommodation and to inform its employees that disability is not a factor to be considered in making any employment decisions.
According to company information, with over 500 employees, C&A Tool is one of the largest employers in the region. It produces parts for a variety of industries including transportation and aeronautical industries.