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Multi-national communications giant AT&T Inc. has agreed to pay a $250,000 settlement to resolve a federal disability discrimination case, according to authorities at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This case alleged that AT&T failed to accommodate one of its visually impaired employees at offices in Puerto Rico.1

Details of the Disability Discrimination Case

AT&T Settles Disability Discrimination Suit for $250,000

AT&T Settles Disability Discrimination Suit for $250,000

According to court documents associated with this case, the disabled employee began working for AT&T in 2001 as a switch technician. He reportedly began losing his eyesight in 2008 as a result of suffering from diabetes and took some time off of work.

In 2009, the plaintiff’s doctor cleared him to return to work. At that time, the plaintiff reportedly requested adaptive software to assist him in carrying out his work duties; however, AT&T failed to respond to the man’s requests, removed him from his position and did not allow him to return to work.

In 2011, the EEOC accused AT&T of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

It is important for employers to take accommodation requests from qualified employees with disabilities seriously and to respond to them in a timely manner…The requirement by federal law to engage in the interactive process with an employee cannot be ignored. – EEOC San Juan Director William Sanchez 

Terms of the Settlement

To resolve this case, AT&T has reportedly agreed to the following conditions:

  • Reinstate the plaintiff to a new position in its San Juan location
  • Provide him reasonable working conditions that fully comply with the ADA
  • Conduct yearly disability training for managers in Puerto Rico
  • Post notifications about the disability lawsuit case in its Puerto Rico locations to educate employees and raise awareness about the rights disabled workers have
  • Engage in affirmative recruiting of visually impaired job candidates.

Reasonable versus Unreasonable Workplace Accommodations for Visually Impaired Employees

This case (and settlement) underscores the importance of providing reasonable accommodations for disabled workers. While reasonable accommodations can come in various forms (depending on the nature of an employee’s impairments), for visually impaired employees, some examples of reasonable accommodationsinclude (but are by no means limited to) providing or allowing for:

  • A closed circuit television system (CCTV) to enable reading of printed materials
  • An external computer screen magnifier
  • Digital recorders
  • Software to read information on computer screens
  • An optical scanner to convert printed documents into an electronic format
  • Refreshable Braille displays
  • Braille embossers
  • Documents in an accessible format, such as in large print, Braille, a recorded format, or on a computer disk
  • The use of guide dogs at work
  • Disabled-friendly employment tests
  • An assistant to read printed materials
  • Working from home
  • Any other technology that can help visually impaired workers perform their job duties.

Contact a Los Angeles Discrimination Lawyer at Moon & Yang

If you have experienced workplace disability discrimination – or any violation of your employee rights, contact a Los Angeles discrimination lawyer at Moon & Yang to find out more about your options for recovery and justice. You can contact us by calling (213) 232-3128 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

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1EEOC press release discussing this case & settlement

2According to the EEOC

Categories: Disability Discrimination, Wrongful Termination