Deaf applicant receives $30K, EEOC says

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Editor's Note: This story has been updated with a statement from Graceworks.

A deaf employee has been awarded $30,660 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit against a long-term care provider that rescinded an interview offer, according to legal complaint.

Michelle Anthony applied for a site manager position at a Graceworks Lutheran Services community in 2013 at the St. Mark Apartment Complex, according to court records. The complex gives preference to deaf residents and said a successful candidate “must be a hearing individual fluent in American Sign Language.” Anthony is deaf and cannot speak, and had previously worked as a case manager at St. Mark. She was asked to interview in 2014, according to court records, but when she asked for an ASL interpreter, the offer to interview was rescinded.

Graceworks, an provider of home care, skilled nursing and assisted living services in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, said in a statement that it "takes seriously its commitment as an equal opportunity employer."

"Graceworks is proud of its talented and diverse work force," the statement reads. "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."

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the provider in 2015 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the agency said. The consent decree settling the suit gives Anthony compensatory damages and injunctive relief. It includes anti-discrimination training, along with a prohibition on discrimination or retaliation.