Blind World Magazine

Firm charged with bias.




Rockford Register Star, Illinois USA.
Thursday, August 24, 2006.




CHICAGO - A Rockford company discriminated against a legally blind Machesney Park man when it rescinded a job offer because of his disability, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.


The EEOC charged that QualxServ LLC, a Massachusetts-based computer maintenance company, offered a technician position to William Landram in May 2004, but backed out later after learning that he did not have a valid driver's license. Because the work required travel to fix computers and servers, Landram had offered to provide his own driver and car.


"He had a reasonable accommodation and employers are required to provide a reasonable accommodation, unless they can prove it was an undue hardship," said June Calhoun, EEOC trial attorney. "They told us their insurance carrier won't allow this, but they were never able to give proof of that, which led us to believe that was a pretense."


A phone message left for human resources personnel at QualxServ's corporate office was not immediately returned Wednesday.


Landram has since moved from the Rock River Valley. He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in 1989, a de-terioration of the retina that left his vision severely limited.


The EEOC complaint charges that QualxServ violated the Americans With Disabilities Act. The EEOC has not decided how much to seek in punitive damages, but the maximum fine is $300,000 depending on Qualx-Serv's size, Calhoun said.


On its Web site, QualxServ says it has 150 field locations and 2,000 employees.


Staff writer Nate Legue may be reached at 815-987-1346 or nlegue@rrstar.com.



http://www.rrstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060824/BUSINESS/108240049




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