Virginia Company Refused to Promote Woman Because of Her Previous Stroke, Federal Agency Charged
Maximus, Inc., a Reston, Va.-based business management and logistic consulting services firm, has agreed to pay $50,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Maximus, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-1022), Maximus failed to promote Thelma Austin in November 2009 because of concerns about the residual effects of a stroke that she suffered in July 2009. Austin had been employed by Maximus in its McLean, Va., facility since January 2007. She sought a promotion to a senior client services position.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on perceived or actual disabilities. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Pursuant to the 2 ½-year consent decree resolving the litigation, Maximus agreed to pay $50,000 in monetary relief to Austin. In addition, the company must take other actions set forth in the decree, including distributing its anti-discrimination policy; posting its anti-discrimination policy in its McLean facility; providing annual ADA-specific training to its managers, supervisors and employees in its McLean facility; and posting a notice about the settlement. Further, Maximus is enjoined from engaging in any further discrimination against any person on the basis of disability, and has agreed to be monitored by the EEOC for the decree’s term.
“Employers must remember that they cannot deny work opportunities to people who are ready and able simply because of inaccurate perceptions about medical impairments and disabilities,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Lynette A. Barnes of the agency’s Charlotte District, which includes Virginia. “This resolution should serve as a reminder that the EEOC will remain vigilant in its enforcement of the ADA.”