The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Honolulu-based Opportunities and Resources, Inc. and ORI Anuenue Hale, Inc., a work placement agency for individuals with disabilities, HR Dive reports.
The EEOC alleges that the organization violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it “routinely refused” to provide sign language interpreters to deaf employees.
The suit claims that several deaf employees repeatedly requested sign language interpreters for staff meetings. Rather than provide interpreters, ORI provided written notes and handouts and asked a deaf employee to interpret for other deaf employees, the lawsuit alleges. This approach deprived deaf employees from fully participating in the meetings and from equal access to important work-related information, EEOC said.
“Employers cannot, on their own, decide what accommodations will meet the needs of an employee,” Raymond Griffin, Jr., director of the EEOC’s Honolulu office, commentede. “Employers have an obligation to engage employees in the interactive process to find effective accommodations.”