The Justice Department announced today it filed a complaint and proposed consent decree with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to resolve allegations that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title I of the ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, including adjusting employee schedules, when it does not pose an undue hardship to the employer.
The lawsuit alleges that ODRC discriminated against a correctional officer on the basis of his disability, Type I diabetes, by failing to make reasonable accommodations to his known physical limitations. Specifically, the department’s lawsuit alleges that ORDC violated the ADA by denying the correctional officer’s request to work a day shift even though working that shift allowed him to manage his blood sugar levels and avoid damage to his health.
“Employees with disabilities should not have to sacrifice their health when workplace adjustments would avoid unnecessary health issues,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department remains committed to ensuring that people with disabilities receive necessary workplace adjustments to allow them to do their job.”
Under the terms of the consent decree, which must be approved by the court, ODRC will revise its policies and procedures regarding reasonable accommodations under the ADA and will train personnel on the requirements of Title I of the ADA. ODRC will also pay $50,000 in compensatory damages to the correctional officer and provide him with a day shift as a reasonable accommodation.
This matter is based on a referral from the Cleveland Field Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which conducted the initial investigation.
For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.