EEOC files suit for failure to hire man with Asperger’s syndrome

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When Jason O’Dell applied to a lab technician position at Randstad US, a Frederick, Maryland employment referral and placement services company, he was fast tracked in the hiring process based on his prior qualifications.

But when O’Dell disclosed his disability, Asperger’s syndrome, in his hiring paperwork, Randstad US told O’Dell that the hiring process was on hold, and proceeded to recruit for a new employee in the position.

In response, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit May 13 against Randstad US for violating federal discrimination law under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We brought this lawsuit because of Randstad’s dismissive treatment of Mr. O’Dell based on its apparent presumptions about individuals with disabilities and their ability to be productive employees,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence, according to an EEOC news release. “It is exactly this type of prejudicial and stereotypical decision making that the ADA aims to eradicate.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, seeks monetary relief for O’Dell and punitive damages against Randstad US, which has nearly 350 branch locations nationwide.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in hiring, firing, job application procedures, advancement, compensation, job training and other terms and conditions of employment.