Disability Rights NC recently reached a settlement with a large school district in North Carolina in a “failure to hire” case.

The case involved an opening for an American Sign Language (ASL) instructor at a school in the district. A Yadkinville resident who is Deaf applied for the job, but the school did not provide reasonable accommodations for her during the hiring process and withdrew the offer for an interview after she asked the district to provide an interpreter for the interview.

The woman filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and we represented her during negotiations with the school district.

As part of the settlement, the school district committed to providing annual trainings about the ADA to principals, administrators, and other staff involved in the hiring process. The district will also pay monetary damages to the complainant in an undisclosed amount.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that guarantees that people with disabilities have access to public spaces and services. It also provides protections in employment, including in the hiring process. It is important that people involved in hiring understand the responsibilities the ADA puts on employers.

The ADA says that employers cannot discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in the job application process, as well as in hiring, advancement, or pay. By withdrawing the interview invitation after the applicant requested an accommodation, we alleged that the district violated the ADA. 

Employers seeking to learn more about their obligations under the ADA during the hiring process may contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN provides free consulting services for all employers. Employers interested in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing people with disabilities in employment may contact the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN).

To contact JAN and to review resources regarding accommodations visit askjan.org/empl/. To contact EARN, visit askearn.org.