EEOC says company discriminated against paraplegic

January 08, 2003

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a paraplegic who said he was refused employment at a company outside Pittsburgh because he uses a wheelchair. The EEOC on Wednesday said it filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Union Electric Steel Corp., of Carnegie, because the company rescinded an offer of employment over "stereotypes about persons with paraplegia and persons who use wheelchairs."

Officials at Union Electric Steel declined to comment, saying the suit was being reviewed by attorneys.

The lawsuit claims the man, Robert Ruffing, was offered work with the company as a draftsman through a temporary agency in February 2001, but that when Ruffing arrived to begin he was immediately told to leave.

The EEOC alleged no attempt was made to determine the nature of Ruffing's disability or to determine if he needed any reasonable accommodations. The lawsuit claims the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The agency said attempts to settle the allegations before bringing suit were unsuccessful.

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