Howard University, a historically black university in the District of Columbia, will pay $35,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit.
The EEOC charged that Clarence Muse, who has diabetes that resulted in kidney failure, applied for and was interviewed for a protective services officer and protective services supervisor position with Howard University Hospital, a division of the university. During the interview, when asked about his shift preferences, Muse disclosed that he preferred the evening shift because of his dialysis schedule. Muse had over 40 years of experience as a police officer and security guard, including experience as a homicide detective and supervisor. According to the lawsuit, Howard University hired more than 40 security officers and supervisors but refused to hire Muse, despite his excellent qualifications, because of his disability.
In addition to the $35,000 in monetary relief to Muse, the two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit prohibits Howard University from engaging in disability discrimination. The university will provide annual training to managers and those responsible for hiring within the hospital's Department of Protective Services on the ADA. Howard will post both its anti-discrimination policy and a notice about the settlement on Howard University Hospital's human resources bulletin board. The university will also report to the EEOC about how it handled any complaints of alleged disability discrimination in the hospital's department of protective services.
This settlement should remind all employers that the EEOC will take vigorous action to protect the rights of applicants like Mr. Muse, who was eminently qualified for a security officer position but rejected simply because of his disability.