EEOC Sues AT&T For Disability Discrimination

AT&T Services, Inc., doing business as Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, L.P. (AT&T), a major telephone company, violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant simply because he is an insulin-dependent diabetic, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed last week.

According to the EEOC’s suit, AT&T violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to hire an applicant as a cable splicer technician in Austin only because of his “insulin use” for type 2 diabetes. Indeed, according to the EEOC, the applicant indisputably had the necessary experience and expertise to perform the job and had previously safely performed a similar job for AT&T for many years after he was diagnosed with diabetes.

Refusing to hire a qualified individual because of his or her disability, record of disability, or because the employer perceives a person as being disabled, violates the ADA. After the EEOC’s San Antonio Field office determined that AT&T had violated the law, it filed suit (CASE NO. A09CA700JN) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the victim, as well as injunctive relief.