UMB Slapped with ADA Lawsuit

December 2, 2004 ( - The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued UMB Bank over allegations that the bank discriminated against a quadriplegic job applicant at its Kansas City Service Center.

The EEOC alleged in the suit that UMB Bank refused to hire Rodney Graves because of his disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), American City Business Journals reported. A football injury caused Graves to become a quadriplegic 29 years ago, the EEOC said in a news release.

According to the news report, Graves applied for a job with UMB Bank as a customer support and sales agent in June 2002 involving providing product support, making telephone sales calls and entering related data into a computer. Those were duties similar to those in a job he’d had earlier with AT&T Corp. for several years until he was laid off.

In the six months after he applied for the job, Graves was interviewed by several of the bank’s service center managers, EEOC said. He was not given a typing test but was given and passed other required employment tests. EEOC said Graves was informed in December 2002 that the bank had “filled their needs.”

Kansas City-based UMB Financial Corp., UMB Bank’s parent company, issued the following written statement late Wednesday, according to the Business Journal:

“Although UMB has not yet been served with the EEOC Complaint, UMB has always been committed to fulfilling the spirit and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to welcoming all qualified applicants. UMB attempted to work with Mr. Graves in facilitating his employment in at least two areas of the Bank; however, both he and the UMB associates with whom he interviewed were of the opinion that he was unable to do the job for which he applied. Over the last six months, UMB has repeatedly attempted to conciliate this matter with the EEOC and is disappointed to learn of this lawsuit. UMB believes that once all the facts and circumstances of this matter are explored, UMB will be found to have complied in every way with the law and the spirit of the law.”