The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) announced a settlement agreement with Andersen Corp. that requires the company to pay a former job applicant a year’s worth of pay. Andersen will also have to work to build a more inclusive workplace for disabilities, says MDHR.
MDHR did not release any information about the applicant.
The settlement stems from a 2019 incident in which MDHR states that Andersen withdrew a job offer to an applicant at its Bayport, Minn., production facility after learning of his disability. Andersen claims that it withdrew the offer because the applicant could not operate a forklift.
MDHR discovered that not only was operating a forklift not essential to the job, but the applicant was indeed able to operate a forklift, as confirmed by his doctor. When the applicant presented the doctor’s confirmation and requested that Andersen reconsider his employment, the company refused.
After reviewing the claim, MDHR found Andersen’s “alleged justification for rescinding the job offer was false.” MDHR concluded that Andersen refused to hire the applicant because of his disability, which is a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
“Minnesota is not in the business of excluding people from jobs because of their disability,” says MDHR commissioner Rebecca Lucero. “The state’s civil rights law requires employers to have inclusive hiring practices, which help employers recruit applicants and foster a stronger workforce.”
According to the settlement agreement, Andersen has to audit all manufacturing positions at Minnesota-based production facilities to accurately reflect the actual job functions of each role, create and enforce a policy so applicants can appeal a decision to rescind a job offer and provide all employees with anti-discrimination training.
Andersen also has to pay the former applicant $41,000, and MDHR will monitor the company for three years to ensure compliance with the settlement agreement.