A Broomfield RV manufacturing company violated federal law when it refused to hire a qualified deaf candidate and then retaliated against her when she complained of discrimination, a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal district court alleges.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit claims Carefree of Colorado refused to hire Anna Biryukova for two open positions, despite previous manufacturing experience. The company expressed concern that her disability could be a “challenge” and present “safety issues,” the EEOC said in a news release.
Carefree also told a job developer representing Biryukova she could not work for the company because she is deaf, according to the lawsuit. The company then refused to consider her for future openings after Biryukova and the developer complained about discrimination and requested an accommodation.
In a statement, Carefree said “It is not fair or appropriate to discuss the details of this case as it is currently under litigation. As Carefree of Colorado has not been served, it has not yet had an opportunity to review the complaint. Carefree prides itself on being an equal-opportunity workplace and has confidence in the judicial system to repudiate these claims.”
The actions alleged in the complaint violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination regarding hiring decisions on the basis of disability, as well as retaliating against individuals who oppose disability-based discrimination, the federal agency said.
“It is unlawful to refuse to hire applicants because they are hearing impaired,” Amy Burkholder, EEOC Denver Field Office Director, said. “Hiring decisions should be made based on qualifications, not on fears or stereotypes about people with disabilities.”
The federal employment agency filed suit after the sides were unable to reach a settlement, the news release said.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for Biryukova as well as injunctive relief prohibiting Carefree from discriminating against individuals with disabilities, the agency said.