PORTLAND, Ore. – An Oregon software company and its staffing agency will pay $112,500 each to a deaf job applicant who alleged they refused to hire him because he asked for a sign-language interpreter at his job interview.
Viewpoint Construction Software, a Portland-based company, helps contractors plan and manage large projects, The Oregonian reported. Its recruiting firm, Seattle-based CampusPoint Corp., focuses on matching companies with job applicants out of school.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued both companies last year on behalf of Indigo Matthew, a Portland man who applied to work as a Viewpoint product and pricing analyst in 2018, the newspaper reported. According to court records, the EEOC alleged that Matthew passed an initial screening via a video relay service. He then requested an American Sign Language interpreter for a group interview at Viewpoint.
The firms refused to pay for the interpreter, according to the EEOC, because they “erroneously assumed that Matthew would need a full-time interpreter if he was hired for the analyst position.”
The agency said that Matthew is able to read lips during conversations with individuals, but wanted an interpreter for the second round of the process because he would be interviewing with a group, The Oregonian reported.
The EEOC alleged that Matthew was unable to persuade CampusPoint to revisit the issue, according to The Associated Press.
Viewpoint declined to comment, the news organization reported.
The settlement was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, The Oregonian reported. According to court records, the ruling requires Viewpoint and CampusPoint to take steps to ensure they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, notify employees and job applicants of their legal rights, conduct individual assessments of what accommodations are necessary for job applicants to perform the work, and to create an appeals process if it rejects disabled employees or applicants’ requests for accommodations.
“The job may have been done in a particular way in the past, but there are ways that it can be done … (and) still fully accomplish the job,” EEOC attorney Teri Healy told The Oregonian. “But it may just be in a different way than it’s been done in the past.”
Viewpoint was sold to California-based Trimble for $1.2 billion in 2018, according to the newspaper.
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