EEOC lawsuit settled by seniors housing provider for $30,000

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An Ohio-based seniors housing operator will pay $30,660 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Thursday.

In addition to operating a continuing care retirement / life plan community in Dayton, OH, Graceworks Lutheran Services also operates affordable housing for older adults and disabled individuals in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky and residential living and other services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in four Southwest Ohio counties, according to its website.

A spokeswoman for Graceworks told McKnight's Senior Living that the organization “takes seriously its commitment as an equal opportunity employer.”

The EEOC maintained that Graceworks refused to hire applicant Michelle Anthony for a site manager position at one of its housing communities because she is deaf and cannot speak. The job was at an apartment complex that gives preference to deaf residents, but Graceworks required the successful job candidate to be a hearing individual. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the terms of the settlement, Graceworks will pay compensatory damages to Anthony and will provide anti-discrimination training, report discrimination claims, and prohibit any discrimination or retaliation.

The Graceworks spokeswoman noted that the organization employs more than 1,000 people in more than 50 locations in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. “Graceworks is proud of its talented and diverse work force,” she said. “As it has for more than 90 years, Graceworks remains dedicated to providing the highest quality of housing and services possible to vulnerable populations, including the deaf community.”

Updated 2-27-17 with response from Graceworks.

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