A health insurance company has agreed to settle a lawsuit after it allegedly failed to accommodate a deaf job applicant.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas will pay $75,000 to settle the disability discrimination lawsuit, which was filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency alleged that the company had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The lawsuit was filed after Blue Cross initially declined to settle out of court.
Sheryl Meador, who is deaf, attempted to apply as an open-claims examiner for the insurance company, but found that it was not accessible for deaf people. She requested Blue Cross make some accommodations multiple times, but the insurer later stopped communicating with her.
“Like so many other people with or without disabilities, Ms. Meador just wanted the opportunity to work,” said EEOC attorney Heather Nodler. “She was well-qualified for this position, irrespective of the nature of her disability. Unfortunately, however, the application process became a needless roadblock to her employment.”
Earlier this week, a federal judge signed a two-year consent decree that ordered Blue Cross to pay Meador the monetary relief, The Associated Press reported. The same court order also required the insurer to conduct annual ADA training for employees. Blue Cross is obligated to inform both applicants and employees with disabilities about their rights, and the company has to remove barriers to application for those with hearing disabilities.