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PRESS RELEASE
9-21-12

EEOC Wins Rare Summary Judgment Verdict In Disability Suit Against Creative Networks

Court  Rules Employer Refused to Provide Reasonable Accommodations and
Failed  to Hire Hearing-Impaired Applicant

PHOENIX -- A federal judge ruled yesterday ruled in favor of the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that a Phoenix company that  provides services to the disabled illegally discriminated against a hearing-impaired  job applicant.

Judge  David Alan Ezra of U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona held as a  matter of law that Creative Networks had failed to accommodate and hire a  hearing-impaired applicant, Rochelle Duran, because of her disability.  In its lawsuit filed Sept. 28, 2009, the EEOC  charged that Creative Networks violated the Americans with Disabil­ities Act  (ADA) by adhering to a rigid policy or practice of denying hearing-impaired  applicants' requests for interpreting services costing more than $200 to  complete its pre-employment orientation and training.  (EEOC v.  Creative Networks L.L.C., 09-CV-02023, D. Ariz.). 

According  to the court, "Creative Networks denied Duran an employment opportunity and the  denial was based on her need for reasonable accommodations.  Indeed, Defendant's failure to offer Duran reasonable  accommoda­tions foreclosed her opportunity for employment by preventing her  from proceeding further in the application process." 

Such conduct violates Title I of the  the Americans with  Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits private employers from  discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job  application procedures, hiring, and job training, and also mandates that  employers provide reasonable accommo­dations to people with disabilities absent  undue hardship.  With this decision by  the court, the case will go to trial on the issues of damages and injunctive  relief.

EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill said, "It's plainly  against federal law for employers to refuse reasonable accommodations to  qualified applicants and employees with disabilities.  Employers should take advantage of the skills  and assets that disabled individuals can offer, rather than denying them their  rights under the law.  Employers need to  train and educate their work force on the need to treat disabled individuals lawfully  and fairly rather than closing the door of opportunity on them." 

Rayford O. Irvin, district director  of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, added, "I cannot emphasize enough how  important it is for employers to take seriously their obligation to respect the  rights of disabled applicants and employees.   The EEOC will continue to exercise its mission to protect the rights of  workers against discrimination."    

Creative Networks, with over  1,000 employees, is a Phoenix-based subsidiary of ResCare, Inc. and a company  that that provides services to disabled clients. 

The EEOC enforces federal  laws prohibiting employment discrimination.   Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.