Bank of America has been ordered to pay $110,000 to a former temporary worker resolving a disability discrimination case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC said the bank failed to accommodate a visually impaired data entry worker, and instead terminated his temporary assignment at one of the bank's branches in downtown Chicago after just one day on the job.
The story actually broke right before Christmas, but in the busyness of the holidays, I missed it, and thought you might have as well.
The EEOC said the bank's conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.
This can include making adjustments or modifications in the workplace that enable an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of their job.
For example, an employer may be required to provide screen magnifying software that would enable an employee with a visual impairment to perform essential computer work.
"Of the millions of working-age Americans with vision loss, research has shown that fewer than half are employed, An employer of the size and sophistication of Bank of America, which employs an enormous number of people working at computer terminals, ought to be a national leader in employing individuals with disabilities, including vision loss, and a leader in ADA compliance generally," said John Hendrickson, EEOC Chicago district regional attorney. "We're optimistic that this consent decree is going to prompt that kind of progress at Bank of America, not only because it's the law, but also because it's the right thing to do."
In addition to monetary relief for the former employee, the decree includes an injunction requiring the bank provide reasonable accommodations to temporary and contingent workers at its branches throughout Illinois, provides for training about the ADA's requirements and imposes recordkeeping and reporting requirements for the duration of the decree.
Questions and answers about blindness, visual impairments and the ADA are available on the EEOC's website.