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In the largest settlement the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has ever obtained for individuals with disabilities, American Airlines will pay almost $1.7 million to 99 people who were allegedly denied jobs in Nashville, Tennessee and Detroit, Michigan. The settlement terms were outlined in a consent decree finalized on August 10, 2000. It includes $1,695,800 in back pay and interest that will be divided among the applicants who were denied employment in Nashville and Detroit. The settlement is the result of separate compliance reviews conducted by the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the two facilities. The OFCCP determined that American discriminated against job applicants with disabilities at both locations. Some of the individuals applied for positions as ticket agents and mechanics. Most applied for part-time fleet service clerk positions at the Nashville airport facility. Fleet service clerks handle baggage, clean aircraft and guide planes to and from airport gates. According to the OFCCP, American used a system of numerical medical standards for screening certain applicants for employment and then used those criteria to deny employment. The airline routinely disqualified applicants who failed to meet its standards for a number of medical conditions, including blood pressure, vision, hearing and asthma, the OFCCP determined. American asserted that it had reasonable cause to deny employment to individuals who did not meet its medical standard in these cases because of safety concerns. However, the OFCCP and its medical experts who examined the affected individuals found that American’s concerns had no medical basis and that each of the applicants could have safely performed the jobs for which they had applied. HIRING PRACTICES CHANGED, WILL BE MONITORED. American has denied any wrongdoing, but the airline has changed its pre-employment medical screening practices at both airport facilities to ensure compliance with the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, the OFCCP will review, for one year, the cases of any applicant for jobs as fleet service clerks or ticket agents at the company’s Nashville facility who are rejected because of medical concerns. “This settlement is a victory for people with disabilities,” said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman in a statement. “American Airlines has agreed not to engage in discriminatory hiring practices and to monitor its hiring. We have emphasized to every federal contractor that equal employment opportunity and self-monitoring are simply the way to do business today.” The OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and other laws that prohibit government contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, gender, national origin or veteran status. As a federal contractor, American is subject to affirmative action and equal employment opportunity requirements enforced by the OFCCP. � 2000, CCH INCORPORATED. All Rights Reserved.

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