EEOC: Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Failure to Provide Interpreter for Deaf Employee

This is not a FEHA case, but a disability discrimination case recently filed in the U.S.D.C. – Eastern District of California by the EEOC.

According to this story, Placer ARC failed to provide a sign interpreter for a former deaf employee, Homeyra Kazerounian. Placer ARC is a “vibrant agency” which is “dedicated to promoting the welfare of persons diagnosed with a developmental disability or at risk of a developmental disability.” Placer ARC claims it is “Making the Difference for Individuals with Special Needs.”

Placer ARC apparently didn’t make the difference for Ms. Kazerounian. EEOC claims she was originally provided with an interpreter so she could participate in meetings and such, then suddenly the interpreter was taken away, preventing Ms. Kazerounian from enjoying equal employment opportunities and adversely affecting her status as an employee.

Some have said this type of lawsuit is ridiculous and will discourage employers from considering hiring deaf applicants. Others will argue that a “special needs” advocacy group should put its money where its mouth is.

Placer ARC’s lawyers should consult this case – EEOC v. UPS Supply Chain Solutions – for some guidance here. Perhaps early mediation is in order.

You can read EEOC’s complaint here.

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