Illinois Call Center Firm Settles Blind Discrimination Case

December 6, 2005 ( - A Naperville, Illinois telemarketing company which refused to hire a blind woman who showed up for the interview with a guide dog has agreed to a $200,000 out-of-court settlement.

US District Court Judge Joan Lefkow approved the consent agreement between Americall Group of Naperville and plaintiff Ginny Quick, a college graduate who reads Braille and who the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said was qualified for the job, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

Quick told the Chicago Tribune that she took her guide dog to an interview at Americall Group’s facility in Lansing, and she later got a letter saying the firm could not allow the dog in the workplace.

The EEOC filed a federal lawsuit on Quick’s behalf in August 2004.

“This case should send a message to employers not to close their doors to disabled applicants and the service animals they use,” Gregory Gochanour, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supervisory trial attorney, said in an announcement. “Though guide dogs may not be appropriate in all conceivable circumstances, there is no good reason why employers cannot readily accommodate service animals [in] office environments like call centers.”.

Americall – which employs 3,000 people in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Florida and two foreign countries – offered as part of the decree to work with the Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired to seek out additional qualified applicants for employment.