In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to protect individuals who are qualified for employment from being discriminated against based on a disability by current or prospective employers. Even though the act has been in place for almost three decades, disability discrimination is still an issue that employees deal with on a daily basis. The Hertz Corporation has recently made headlines after a manager at the company’s Englewood, Colorado location allegedly denied an applicant a position after seeing the applicant used a cane. The lawsuit draws attention to ongoing disability discrimination problems within companies of all sizes.
Hertz Disability Discrimination Accusation
Norman Newton, a man with over 10 years of car sales experience, claims that the Englewood, Colorado Hertz office would not hire him because he uses a cane when walking. According to Newton’s lawsuit, the manager was concerned that if hired Mr. Newton his mobility issues would negatively impact his ability to complete his job duties. After making this statement, the same manager left a voicemail for Mr. Newton stating he hired two other individuals for the position. One of those hired instead of Mr. Newton had no previous car sales experience. The initial statement that claimed Newton’s disability would affect his ability to perform the job followed by the decision to hire people less qualified than himself led to the applicant accusing the corporation of discrimination.
An Alarming Trend
Over a decade after ADA passed, disability related discrimination claims reached an all-time low. Unfortunately, the number of disability claims started to rise again, reaching their highest number reported in 2016. The steady increase concerns organizations monitoring discrimination claims since it indicates a growing number of incidents during a time when the public and most organizations have an abundance of information available that is meant to reduce incidents of discrimination. Members of the disabled community are especially alarmed since the trend sheds light on the fact that only a small number of disabled adults are able to obtain employment. In a study conducted in 2015 only 17.5% of disabled individuals were employed and those individuals rarely have access to benefits or can only obtain low-paying jobs.
Colorado Law Provides Additional Protection
The state of Colorado strengthened existing discrimination laws providing even more protection to employees who are victims of discriminatory practices. The initial Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) was already considered tough on discrimination going beyond existing federal protections by applying to employers of all size and protecting against discrimination based on transgender status or sexual orientation. The change to the law allows courts in Colorado to permit jury trials, removes age caps allowing anyone age 40 or older to initiate age discrimination lawsuits, and allows attorney’s fees to be awarded if the lawsuit is won. The lawsuit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Mr. Newton’s behalf seeks punitive damages, relief against future disability discrimination, and financial compensation in the form of both back and compensatory pay.
Seek Legal Advice
If you believe you were denied employment because of a disability, then it is your right to pursue recourse. The discrimination lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys are prepared to help you determine the best options based on your unique circumstances. Contact our Denver, Colorado office today and schedule a private consultation to discuss your case.