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Disabled worker given $185,000 settlement in hiring discrimination case

The visually impaired woman was dismissed from a job interview because of her disability, violating the law, reports the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

A Minnesota woman with a visual impairment has received a $185,000 settlement from a company that ended a job interview because of her disability.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights reports that Therese Dahlberg was paid that amount by Medical Transportation Management after an investigation found alleged discrimination in her case.

The findings showed that Dahlberg interviewed for a customer-service-representative job with a Medical Transportation Management human resources representative in 2012, but was told: “There was no point in proceeding with the job interview as the accommodation for this disability (text-to-speech software) did not work on the respondent’s computer operating system.” 

But the Minnesota State Services for the Blind then evaluated the company’s systems to see if Dahlberg could have performed the job with assistive technology, and the determination was made that: 

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“Sufficient evidence indicated the failure to hire (Dahlberg) was based upon speculative fears or challenges, which the evidence indicated could have been accommodated without posing an undue hardship to the respondent,” said the Human Rights Department.

Joan Willshire, executive director of the Minnesota State Council on Disability, noted that this is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and said:

“The ADA states that people with disabilities have the right to equal access during the hiring process. Therefore, employers must give people with disabilities the same consideration as all other candidates. Assistive technologies help make that possible. Modern technology allows employers to reasonably accommodate most applicants who have a disability. Failure to provide reasonable accommodations is discrimination and against the law.”