On October 14, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that Sprouts market would pay $280,000 to settle claims of disability discrimination. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado by the EEOC, joined by three Sprouts applicants. The applicants claimed that they had been contacted to interview for jobs with Sprouts. The individuals, who are deaf, then requested that they be provided an American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpreter during their interviews. According to the lawsuit, the Sprouts managers did not make any plans to have ASL interpreters present, and did not respond to the applicants’ attempts to follow up about the interviews and the interpreters.
Failing to accommodate the disability of an applicant for employment is a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the ADA (as well as the Colorado Equivalent, known as CADA), employers must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities in the absence of an undue hardship.
Accommodation of applicants with disabilities would not just involve the interview process, but also all other parts of the hiring process, including the website, the application itself, any pre-employment requirements, and so on. If you have questions about accommodating applicants (or employees) with disabilities reach out to an experienced employment attorney today.