US Dept of Justice Settlement and Illinois State Police re Discrimination for Hearing Loss

December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND
AND ILLINOIS STATE POLICE

From U.S. Department of Justice, http://www.ada.gov/illinois_state_police.htm

1.The parties to this Settlement Agreement are the United States of America and the Illinois State Police, Illinois.

2.The United States of America is referred to as the “United States”; the Illinois State Police as the “ISP”; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq., as “Title I” or the “ADA”; Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000ff et seq., as “GINA”; and “medical examinations and inquiries” refers to any inquiry, procedure or test that seeks information on an individual’s physical or mental impairments or health.

3.The parties have reached an agreement that it is in their best interest, and the United States believes that it is in the public interest, to resolve this dispute without engaging in protracted litigation. The parties have therefore voluntarily entered into this Agreement, and agree as follows:

I. BACKGROUND

4.This matter is based on the provisions of the ADA and GINA, and their implementing regulations, 29 C.F.R. Parts 1630 and 1635.

5.Specifically, this matter is based on Section 107(a) of Title I of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a), which incorporates by reference Section 707 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-6, and GINA, 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff.

6.This matter was initiated by a complaint to the Department of Justice “Department” on behalf of applicants for ISP cadet vacancies.

7.The ISP is a person within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12111(7) and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(a), an employer within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12111(5) and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b), and a covered entity within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12111(2).

8.The United States alleges that the claimants listed in paragraph 24 below, are individuals with disabilities within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8).

9.The United States alleges that the ISP is engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by maintaining a policy whereby applicants for cadet job vacancies are automatically excluded from consideration for employment if the applicant:

(a) has a hearing loss and was not permitted the use of assistive devices, such as a hearing aids, in the cadet medical screening, or

(b) has diabetes mellitus which is controlled by the use of an insulin pump.

10.The United States further alleges and the ISP denies that the ISP is unable to demonstrate that the job qualification standards described in paragraphs 9(a) and 9(b) above are job-related and consistent with business necessity for the position of trooper. 42 U.S.C. § 12112 b(6).

11.The United States alleges and the ISP denies that the ISP’s hiring policy as described in paragraph 9 above imposes a per se ban on employment of persons with disabilities. 42 U.S.C.§ 12112 b(5) and (6).

12.The United States alleges and the ISP denies that, as a result of the pattern or practice of discrimination described in paragraph 9 above, the ISP unlawfully denied employment to qualified applicants with disabilities for cadet jobs based on their disabilities.

13.The ISP denies all of the United States’ allegations in paragraphs 9-12.

II. GENERAL AGREEMENT

14.The ISP agrees that it shall not discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in violation of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a).

15.The ISP agrees that it will continue to abide by all of the requirements of the ADA, including the requirement that it offer a reasonable accommodation, where appropriate, to an individual with a disability.

16.The ISP agrees that it will:

(a) eliminate its policy of automatically excluding applicants for cadet jobs who use assistive devices such as hearing aids to attenuate hearing loss;

(b) implement a hiring policy whereby cadet job applicants who use hearing aids are individually assessed to determine their eligibility for hiring; and

(c) revise all publications, including websites relating to any facet of employment, employment opportunities, and/or the process of applying for employment, to be consistent with the requirements of this paragraph.

17.The ISP agrees that it will:

(a) eliminate its policy of automatically excluding cadet job applicants who control their diabetes mellitus condition through the use of an insulin pump;

(b) implement a hiring policy whereby cadet job applicants who control their diabetes mellitus condition through the use of an insulin pump are individually assessed to determine eligibility for hiring; and

(c) revise all publications, including websites relating to any facet of employment, employment opportunities, and/or the process of applying for employment, to be consistent with the requirements of this paragraph.

18.In conducting any medical examination or inquiry, the ISP agrees to provide, upon a request by the United States, written evidence that its post-offer pre-employment medical examinations or inquiries are required of all entering trooper cadets. If the ISP withdraws a job offer based on medical information, it must show that the reason for doing so was job-related and consistent with business necessity. The ISP can meet this standard by showing that it has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that as a result of the disability, the applicant cannot perform the essential functions of the trooper job with or without a reasonable accommodation, or that the applicant will be unable to perform the essential functions of the trooper job without posing a direct threat as that term is defined within the ADA.

19.The ISP agrees to designate the ISP Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) to address ADA compliance matters. The ISP EEO Office shall serve as the primary contact on disability related issues and concerns raised by cadet candidates for ISP employment.

20.Within one hundred and twenty days of the effective date of this Agreement, the ISP shall provide training on all aspects of the ADA and GINA, including the ISP’s responsibilities relating to medical examinations or inquiries and reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities, to (i) all employees who participate in making personnel decisions, (collectively “supervisors”), and (ii) all new supervisors, who participate in personnel decisions, whether by hire or promotion, after the effective date of this Agreement and within ninety days of the start of their supervisory position.

21.The ISP agrees that all training manuals or written materials dealing with ISP employees and hiring policies and practices, revised or created after the effective date of this Agreement, shall be consistent with the provisions of this Agreement.

22.The actions described in paragraphs 14-21 of this Agreement will be completed by the ISP within ninety days of the effective date of this Agreement.

23.The ISP shall not retaliate against any person because that person has opposed the ISP’s allegedly discriminatory policies or practices in any manner, or because that person has cooperated with the Department’s investigation of the ISP’s employment practices or any proceedings connected with that investigation or with the administration of this Agreement.

III. SPECIFIC REMEDIAL RELIEF

24.The ISP has reinstated the following applicants, and enrolled them in Cadet Class 119. The ISP will provide each ISP cadet applicant identified in this paragraph with remedial relief upon graduation from Cadet Class 119. Remedial relief includes retroactive seniority from the date listed below, and placement at a salary step congruent to their modified seniority date. The ISP will submit the applicant to the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) for inclusion in the Tier 1 pension plan with the starting employment date listed below. The ISP cannot compel SERS to accept the applicant into the Tier 1 plan, but will fully support inclusion. As with all state employees, any necessary employee contributions required by SERS are the responsibility of the applicant. This offer will be made to the following individuals:

Name Original Cadet Class No. Retroactive Seniority Date

[ redacted ] CC-115 June 24, 2007

[ redacted ] CC-116 June 29, 2008

[ redacted ] CC-116 June 29, 2008

[ redacted ] CC-116 June 29, 2008

[ redacted ] CC-116 June 29, 2008

[ redacted ] CC-117 May 31, 2009

[ redacted ] CC-117 May 31, 2009

[ redacted ] CC-117 May 31, 2009

25.Prior to their reinstatement into Cadet Class 119, ISP required each of the reinstated applicants identified in paragraph 24 to execute a document entitled “Settlement Agreement and General Release.” The United States is not a party to this document.

26.It is acknowledged by the United States that once the ISP has offered settlement to all identified Claimants, any Claimant who has declined reinstatement to the CC-119 selection process will have waived his rights to further employment as a result of this Agreement.

IV. IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

27.In consideration for the terms set forth above, the United States will not institute a civil action alleging violations of the ADA based on the Department of Justice Complaint DJ No. 205-24-11, except as provided in paragraph 29, below.

28.Failure by the United States to enforce this Agreement in its entirety or any of its provisions shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions of the Agreement.

29.If any term of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect.

30.The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will raise its concerns with the ISP and the parties will attempt to resolve those concerns in good faith. The United States will give the ISP one hundred and eighty days from the date it notifies the ISP of any breach of this Agreement to cure that breach before instituting an enforcement action.

31.This Agreement shall be binding upon the ISP, its agents and employees.

32.A signatory to this document in a representative capacity for each party represents that he or she is authorized to bind that party to this Agreement.

33.This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the United States and the ISP on the matters raised herein and no other statement, promise or agreement, either written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written agreement, including its attachments, shall be enforceable.

34.This Agreement is not intended to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other law that is not specifically addressed in this Agreement.

35.This Agreement does not affect the ISP’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

36.The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.

37.The duration of this Agreement will be five years from the effective date.

AGREED AND CONSENTED TO:

___________________________

Hiram Grau, Director

Illinois State Police

Thomas E. Perez

Assistant Attorney General

Civil Rights Division

________________________

Date

________________________

Bruce R. Bialorucki

Legal Counsel Illinois State Police

_____________________

Date

_______________________

Allison J. Nichol, Chief

Katherine Wolfe, Acting Special Legal Counsel

Alberto Riusanchez, Acting Deputy Chief

Eugenia Esch, Trial Attorney

Disability Rights Section

Civil Rights Division

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. – NYA

Washington, D.C. 20530

(202) 307-2777

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