Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Blog# 3052020EEOC

 Auto Parts Manufacturer Refused to Hire Employee Who Needed a Reasonable Accommodation, Federal Agency Charged

Heidi Macomber reads the 3/5/2020 EEOC news bulletin re Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas and a disability discrimination lawsuit. Hitachi entered a consent decree with the EEOC and will pay $85,000 and adopt and implement a written ADA policy and a procedure for requesting reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

Today’s post is regarding a March 5, 2020 EEOC news update regarding an auto parts manufacturer located in Monroe, GA, who was charged with disability discrimination. Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. is a global supplier of automotive parts. They entered a consent decree with the EEOC and will pay $85,000 and adopt and implement a written ADA policy and a procedure for requesting reasonable accommodations under the ADA. Hitachi Automotive Systems is required to conduct employee training on disability discrimination, post equal employment opportunity notices, and provide periodic reports to the EEOC.

Disability discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on an individual’s disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-03887-MLB-JKL) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

Disability Discrimination Notes

Employer Coverage – 15 or more employees

Time Limits

Reasonable Accommodation Notes

How does an employee ask for an accommodation?

  • An employer generally does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation unless an individual with a disability has asked for one.
  • A request can be a statement in “plain English” that an individual needs an adjustment or change in the application process or at work for a reason related to a medical condition. The request does not have to include the terms “ADA” or “reasonable accommodation,” and the request does not have to be in writing, although you may ask for a something in writing to document the request.
  • A family member, friend, health professional, rehabilitation counselor, or other representative also may request a reasonable accommodation on behalf of an individual with a disability.

What should I do when an employee requests an accommodation?

  • Discuss the individual’s needs (with the individual) and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation. Where more than one accommodation would work, you may choose the one that is less costly or that is easier to provide.
  • Interactive process” is a formal way of saying that you and the employee or applicant should talk about the request for a reasonable accommodation, especially where the need for the accommodation might not be obvious. A conversation also helps where there may be a question regarding what type of accommodation might best help the individual apply for a job or perform the essential functions of a job.


March 5, 2020 EEOC News Release

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