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EEOC Sues Heartland Automotive Services for Disability Discrimination
February 9, 2012
Federal Agency Charges that Nation’s Largest Jiffy Lube Franchisee Refused to Hire Applicant Because of Hearing Impairment
Heartland Automotive Services, Inc., the nation’s largest Jiffy Lube franchisee, violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant at a Memphis [Tennessee] store because of his hearing impairment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed [January 24, 2012].
The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 2:12-cv-02054 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division) alleges that Heartland violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to hire Louis A. Davidson because he [has] a hearing impairment. The agency contends that Davidson applied for a lube technician position at the Poplar Avenue Jiffy Lube through an online jobsite. After reviewing his application, the store manager telephoned Davidson to discuss his interest in and availability for the position. According to the EEOC, when the store manager learned that Davidson was deaf, he stated that they did not have a position for someone with that “type of handicap” and ended the telephone conversation.
Failure to hire an individual because of a disability violates Title I of the ADA. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The agency’s lawsuit seeks, among other things, reinstatement for Davidson with retroactive benefits, monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and a permanent injunction enjoining Heartland Automotive Services from further discrimination on the basis of disability.
“Heartland refused to hire Mr. Davidson to work simply because of his disability,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. “The EEOC is committed to its responsibility to enforce the ADA and combat this type of blatant discrimination, which prevents people with disabilities from advancing in the workplace.”
According to company information, Heartland Automotive Services is a Minnesota corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. As the nation’s largest Jiffy Lube franchisee, Heartland Automotive Services provides quick lube retail maintenance at service stations throughout the country. Heartland Automotive Services operates more than 435 Jiffy Lube locations and employs approximately 3,500 people.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
News source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)