Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ventura County Sued for Disability Discrimination by Justice Department

Government employees and offices are supposed to lead by example, after all, who can better set the bar for integrity and excellence than the government itself, which is sworn to uphold the laws of the land?

But the US Justice Department is now suing Ventura County for unlawful employment discrimination. The lawsuit filed was in behalf of a deaf woman whom the county failed to hire back in 2005.

The woman allegedly applied for the position of children's social service worker and despite the high ratings during her first interview, she was denied due to her disability.

According to the Justice Department, the woman was previously employed in the same position with Los Angeles County for 10 years and had excelled in her job.

Ventura county is being charged by the government with violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or the ADA is a civil-rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The federal government recognizes the fact that people with disabilities are often treated as lesser members of society and the law protects them from various forms of abuses and discrimination.

Title I of the ADA in particular, prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The scope of the law expressly covers all employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. A qualified individual with disabilities is any employee or applicant who can perform the essential functions of the job in question.

Ventura county’s act of not hiring the woman merely because she was deaf defeats the whole purpose of ADA. The woman was clearly qualified, with 10 years of performing the same job under her belt and there is no other justifiable ground stated for which employment was denied her aside from her condition.

People with disabilities are just as able as normal employees and the failure of the county to hire her on the basis of her deafness is a clear violation of civil rights and the federal law.