EEOC Accuses Car Dealership of Discrimination over Perceived Disability

February 13, 2009 ( - A car dealership in Maui unlawfully discriminated against an employee by failing to hire him for a salesperson position because of a perceived mental disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has charged in a lawsuit.

According to an EEOC announcement, Valley Isle Motors committed a discriminatory practice on the basis of a misperceived mental disability by denying the employee the salesperson position because of prescription medications he was taking. The employee was denied the position despite having submitted normal medical test results to Valley Isle Motors and was medically authorized to work without any restrictions.

“Because this employee submitted to medical testing that revealed normal results, this suit illustrates the ADA’s (Americans with Disabilities Act) prohibition against employers making employment decisions based on unfounded stereotypes against persons with perceived mental disabilities,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, in the announcement. “The employee in this case was qualified, ready, willing, and able to work, but Valley Isle Motors denied him that opportunity for discriminatory reasons.”

Timothy Riera, director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, added: “It’s crucial for all persons who are involved in the hiring process to comply with the ADA and not make decisions based on stereotypical assumptions.”