Salvation Army Pays $55K to End Suit over Rejected Applicant with Intellectual Disability

April 09, 2018

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the Salvation Army has agreed to pay $55,000 and provide other relief to settle allegations that the global humanitarian organization violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to hire a qualified applicant with a disability for a position at its Wasilla, Alaska, thrift store.

The Salvation Army refused to hire the applicant as a donation attendant, an entry-level position that required no prior experience and involved accepting and sorting donated clothing, furniture, and household goods. The applicant, who has an intellectual disability, had purportedly completed high school and a follow-up job-readiness program, finished three internships at medical centers, and held a part-time job at a local church by the time he applied for the attendant position. After a successful first interview, The Salvation Army imposed a highly unusual second interview on the applicant and ultimately rejected him due to unfounded concerns about his ability to interact with the public.

In addition to the $55,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages, the three-year consent decree settling the suit required The Salvation Army to train its corps officers and HR personnel on hiring obligations and assessing reasonable accommodations under the ADA; implement and disseminate a modified ADA policy; and post a notice for employees about the consent decree and employees' rights under the ADA.