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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Toys “R” Us Challenges EEOC in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Game

A New Jersey-based toy manufacturer which has approximately 70,000 employees on its work force has been reportedly challenging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in an employment lawsuit.

In it recent press release, the EEOC has confirmed that it has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Shakirra Thomas who claimed that Toys “R” Us failed provide an interpreter for a deaf applicant like her to give her a chance to get hired.

The lawsuit accusing the giant toy manufacturer of failing to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified applicants with disability was filed by the federal agency before the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division.

In the said lawsuit, the EEOC further narrated how the Toys “R” Us violated the federal labor law. According to the agency, Thomas, who is a deaf applicant and communicates through the use of American Sign Language, lip reading, and writing word, applied for a team member position at the company’s retailer store in Columbia way back in October, 2011. When the company contacted Thomas for a group interview, Thomas’ mother informed that her daughter is deaf and that she needed an interpreter for the interview. The retailer subsequently refused the mother’s request but Thomas still attended the interview with her mother to act as her own interpreter.

Thomas allegedly qualified for the job position with or without a reasonable accommodation but the company refused to hire her according to court documents.

Such employment malpractice clearly violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under this law, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants with disabilities or impairment unless it would cause undue hardship to the company or business. Moreover, the ADA also prohibits employers from refusing to hire an applicant based on disability.

According to a lawyer who has been handling California employment discrimination cases for decades, ADA includes a provision that requires employers to provide an American Sign Language interpreter for the hearing impaired applicants and employees as part of providing reasonable accommodations to people like them. Employers can only be excluded from the said provision if they could prove that providing such accommodation would be a significant difficulty or expense for them to do so. In this case, Toys “R” Us is one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers therefore, it cannot deny the fact that providing such accommodation is not a big deal to the company, the lawyer added.

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